A group in Pittsfield Township has gathered enough signatures to force a vote on whether to remove the top three township elected officials.
The marquee issues have to do with development—the officials’ failure to stop a proposed Wal-Mart store on Michigan Avenue, and the expenditure several years ago of $11 million to purchase 540 acres where a development was proposed. The reasons stated on the ballot (limited to actions during the current term of office) complain that the officials voted to increase their own salaries, made false statements, usurped the authority of the planning commission, failed to act to ensure safety, and undermined residents efforts to mitigate the impact of Wal-Mart.
The officials dispute all these claims. In particular, they argue there was no legal way to stop Wal-Mart from building on land fronting on U.S. 12, which has been zoned commercial since 1977. They also say that they’re being recalled by Republican activists aggrieved over the Democratic takeover of the formerly-Republican Pittsfield Township government in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
The three officials are Township Supervisor James Walter, Township Clerk Feliziana Meyer, and Township Treasurer Christina Lirones. All three are members of the township board. On each of the three, a “yes” vote favors removing them from office, and a “no” vote would favor keeping them.