by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor
The second round of the recall effort failed Tuesday when Onaway city voters decided in favor of incumbents Bernie Schmeltzer and Ron Horrocks.
Members of the Presque Isle County Board of Canvassers certified the election Wednesday, according to county clerk Ann Marie Main.
Approximately 168 votes were cast at city hall with Horrocks outdistancing challenger Brad Porter by 18 votes.
Schmeltzer received 84 votes going up against Roger Marsh (59) and Richard Norman (23).
Both incumbents were forced to campaign for their seats on the commission when the group Citizens for a Safer Community initiated a recall campaign and successfully put the questions on the ballot last November and against this past week.
Schmeltzer, a longtime city commissioner and former mayor, was obviously pleased with the results.
“A recall election, to me, means you have done something wrong,” he said when reached for comment. “I don’t believe the commission did.”
The commission decided a year ago to no longer continue the employment of former police chief Jim Gibson, thus eliminating the Onaway Police Department.
They instead contracted with the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Department for extra patrols in a cost-saving measure.
Some of the savings will be realized with the start of road repairs this summer.
“Whatever I vote on as a commissioner, I am affected by it the same way as everybody else,” said Schmeltzer. “When I make a decision, I would like to think I am representing all of the people of Onaway, and not just a few.”
Horrocks said, “I was kind of delighted with the election results and hopefully some of the people can put this behind them and we can move on and keep Onaway fiscally sound.”
Schmeltzer added, “I think the majority of the people spoke. From that, I would think they support us and they have confidence in us.”
Both will be up for re-election in November, along with mayor Gary Wregglesworth, who survived a recall last November when opposed by Gibson.