Recall petition filed to oust Clawson school board trustee

By: Victoria Mitchell, | Royal Oak Review | Published January 20, 2016

CLAWSON — A recall petition filed last week to oust Clawson school board trustee Kevin Turner states that he did not comply with the Open Meetings Act and does not encourage free expression.

Oakland County Director of Elections Joe Rozelle said a recall petition was filed Jan. 11 by Shelley Holloway.

Reasons listed on the petition are:

• Turner did not comply with the Open Meetings Act by not posting a timely announcement of the July 13, 2015, and Aug. 10, 2015, meetings and/or meeting agendas.

• Turner declaring during a public meeting, “As a leader, sometimes you do not have perfect info to make decisions. If you wait for all the info, time is wasted.”

• Turner not encouraging free expression of opinions and facts by fellow board members.

“Truthfully, I did it because no one else would,” Holloway said.

Holloway, a mother of a student in the district, said Turner has not been honest or open and does not use a logical decision-making process, specifically during the meetings and during the decision to privatize the district’s custodial services.

The Clawson Board of Education voted Aug. 10 and again Aug. 28 to privatize its custodial services, a move supporters said would save the district $300,000 and provide a financial lifeline for the district. The 4-3 vote to privatize effectively laid off 13 Clawson Public Schools employees and angered and disheartened people in the community who didn’t support the decision.

Holloway also said she has repeatedly witnessed him block what people have to say.

“I’ve seen him do it several times with board members and other members of the community. He will literally cut you off mid-sentence, and it doesn’t matter what you say,” Holloway said. “And that is not acceptable.”

Turner responded to the allegations via a statement.

“I support her rights as a Michigan citizen to submit a petition for the recall of a public official,” Turner wrote. “I feel the language on her petition isn’t clear or factual.”

The Board of County Election Commissioners — consisting of the county clerk, county treasurer and chief probate judge — will meet at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 26 to review the petition language to make sure that it is factual and to make sure that it is clear.

“So, if the board rules that the language that is submitted is factual and clear, then this individual can begin collecting signatures to place the issue before the voters,” Rozelle said. “If the board rules that it is not factual and clear, then the issue is dead, unless the individual resubmits the language.”

Holloway said that if the petition is approved, she anticipates she won’t have any problem getting enough signatures.

“I would go out and get the signatures,” she said. “But, I would hope to see others get involved too.”

Rozelle said that if the language is approved, then the petitioner first has to submit a written request to the county asking for the number of signatures required.

Rozelle said the number of signatures required is a formula determined by 25 percent of all of the ballots cast for governor — Republican, Democrat and all the minor party candidates — in the last gubernatorial election within the school district.

“That will tell us the number that is required,” he said.