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Shelby Township

December 9, 2010

Four Shelby board members now face recall

By Kristyne E. Demske

C & G Staff Writer


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Four members of the Board of Trustees now face petitions for their recall, following the approval of three new petitions by the Macomb County Election Commission Dec. 14.


The commission, made up of County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, County Treasurer Ted Wahby and Judge Mark Switalski, approved the language on one petition against Trustee Lisa Manzella and two petitions against Shelby Township Treasurer Paul Viar.

Shelby Township resident Thomas Delise, who filed the petitions against Viar, said he’s already been meeting with other residents to come up with a plan to circulate the petitions.

He’s trying to coordinate the efforts with two petitions he has had approved against Supervisor Richard Stathakis. The language in the petitions against both men is identical and takes issue with an August 2009 decision to rezone property at the southwest corner of 24 Mile and Schoenherr roads from residential to office/commercial.

“We got the petitions all put up and (are) just waiting for the right day to get started,” Delise said. “We even had some people give some money for some advertising.

“I know Viar is going to be hard to get, but I gave it a shot.”

Viar did not want to comment on the petitions.

The petition approved for circulation against Manzella takes issue with a September vote against renewing Police Chief Robert Leman’s contract.

Because of the handwritten petition filed by Shelby Township resident Michael Ward, the Election Commission had trouble discerning whether the petition took issue with the vote of no to “renew” the contract or “review” it, but the commission found the language clear anyway by a vote of 2-1. Switalski was the only dissenting vote.

Both Manzella and Shelby Township Clerk Terri Kowal voted against Leman’s one-year contract when it came up for a vote Sept. 21, because they said they felt he deserved a three-year term.

“It’s going to take more than a year to make it through this economy,” Manzella said at the time.

After the vote, Manzella said she would be checking with her legal counsel as to “the appropriate response.”

“I believe the source of these petitions must be held accountable,” she said. “I am confident in the process and in the people of Shelby Township.”

Ward said he was disappointed that two or three more petitions were not approved.

“She voted against putting (a new court building) to the voters of the township, and I don’t understand that,” he said. “We got one through, and that’s fine. At least people know that we have an opportunity to recall her.

“When I get ready, I’ll start the meter and start getting signatures.”

There are currently petitions with approved language still outstanding on Kowal and Stathakis, along with, now, Viar and Manzella, meaning a quorum of the board could face a recall election if all the petitions get the required number of signatures in the time frame allotted for each.