Recall petition against school board members fails

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 1, 2019

WAYNE COUNTY — As the reconfiguration plan in the Grosse Pointe Public School System was underway, Genevieve Tusa, a lawyer based in Grosse Pointe Farms, filed three separate recall petitions June 6 against GPPSS board members Kathleen Abke, Judy Gafa and Christopher Profeta. The petitions were filed with the Wayne County Clerk’s Office.

According to the recall petition language, Tusa filed the recall for the following: “On June 11, 2018, the Board unanimously passed a resolution directing GPPSS officials to propose a plan to address declining student population and reconfigure schools. A Board meeting is scheduled for June 10, 2019, at which time the Board will consider approving a plan proposed by GPPSS officials to close schools.”

The recall petition also referred to an April 11, 2019, news report that the board president stated that the board was only considering plans that close schools. Attempts to reach Tusa by telephone and email were unsuccessful.

At a Wayne County Election Commission hearing held June 26 at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit, the recall was denied. The commission determined that the recall language on the three recall petitions “is not of sufficient clarity to enable the officers whose recall is being sought and the electors to identify the course of conduct which is the basis for the recall (pursuant to Michigan Election Law.)”

“I am thankful for all the people who came to support us during the hearing, and that the majority of the election committee rejected the petitions,” Gafa said in an email.

When the recall petition was first filed, Profeta said his first reaction was “social media had been so negative” and the recall was “an official process. This is going to be better than people yelling at each other.”

Profeta feels that the commission made the right decision June 26.

“The language was not clear,” Profeta said.

“I was pleased the Wayne County Election Committee rejected the recall petition language. Interestingly, the petition was presented by a Lansing firm at the hearing,” Abke said. “It is still unclear how that came to be, but the election committee ruled in our favor. I’m especially grateful for the tremendous support we received during the process. I look forward to continuing the work I was elected to do.”