by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor
The group trying to recall Onaway mayor Gary Wregglesworth and city commissioners Jessie Horrocks and Chuck Abshagen wasted little time in resubmitting petition language after the original petitions were rejected.
New petitions were submitted the next day, with language that led to the Presque Isle County Election Commission’s rejection of the original petitions removed.
The new languages alleged that Wregglesworth, Horrocks and Abshagen:
“Failed to make decisions in which the voters have entrusted (him/her) to make regarding the safety and security of our community, by refusing to explore or take advantage of offers or options from citizens or outside governmental agencies to retain the Onaway Police Department, and by doing so is putting the community’s safety and security at risk.”
Original sponsor Judy Shaloy submitted the petitions.
As of Wednesday, Onaway’s lone police officer, James Gibson, was among the ranks of the unemployed as the city continues to negotiate with the county about the possibility of deputizing Gibson and rolling him into the sheriff’s department
Onaway city manager Joe Hefele is expected to bring members of the city commission up to speed as to the progress of negotiations Monday at 5:30 p.m.
At the election commission hearing, April 24, the board was charged with determining if the petitions were factual and of sufficient clarity.
Hefele argued at the hearing that none of the information was “known to be true, and much of what is contained in that language can easily be proven false.”
Election commission member, Probate Judge Donald McLennan, said the board’s job is not to be a “truth meter.” He said the allegations in the language need to be defensible and “whether the allegations are of factual nature, as opposed to being mere allegations of opinion.”
The rest of the election commission consists of county clerk Ann Marie Main and treasurer Bridget LaLonde.
Members of the group calling itself Concerned Citizens for a Safer Community have been leading the recall effort and could begin circulating petitions immediately if the election commission gave its approval. Sponsors would then have 60 days to collect 25 percent of the votes cast in the last election of governor.