2018-04-15 / Front Page

Recall effort begins in Mayfield Twp.

Resident seeks to remove Supervisor Dianna Ireland
810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com

Supervisor Dianna Ireland Supervisor Dianna Ireland LAPEER — An effort to recall Mayfield Township Supervisor Dianna Ireland has been launched by a resident who claims the township’s top official is ignoring citizen concerns.

Joy Boots filed the proposed ballot language with Lapeer County Clerk Theresa Spencer on March 30.

“We have a board that is out of control that absolutely refuses to listen to any of the voters,” Boots told The County Press. “And the only way that I can think of would be to have a recall and let them know that we are serious about having our voices heard.”

Ireland did not respond to questions about the proposed recall sent via email or by telephone to The County Press by press time.

The board has faced sharp criticism since forming the Mayfield Township Fire Dept. via resolution on Jan. 8.

Joy Boots Joy Boots As previously reported by The County Press, the board had two special meetings in November and December to discuss forming a fire department. The only public notice was on postcards posted at the township hall, meaning a person would have to physically go to the hall or call the hall in the 18 hours preceding each meeting to be aware of them.

Residents have tried to get clarity on the new fire department since the board passed the Jan. 8 resolution to form it. Citizens’ questions have ranged from how the department would be staffed to how much it would cost taxpayers.

As recent as last Monday’s regular board meeting, however, officials offered little to no details on how the new fire department would become reality. (Ireland was not at the meeting.)

“If they would drop the new fire department, I would drop this in a heartbeat,” Boots said. “They have no legitimate reasons for the fire department. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing.”

Boots expressed frustration at the lack of clear direction and answers about the fire department.

“If you have something that massive, you should have a major plan right now,” she said.

Lapeer County’s most recent recall election was held in November 2006. Spencer said it involved two board members in Burnside Township.

The next step in the Mayfield Township recall effort, Spencer said, is for the three-member county election commission to review the proposed ballot language at a special meeting. That meeting is set for Wednesday, April 18, at 11:30 a.m. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the jury assembly room at the Lapeer County Complex.

Per state law, the commission consists of Spencer, Dana Miller, treasurer, Lapeer County, and Lapeer County Probate Court Judge Justus Scott.

Spencer said the commission will review the proposal and approve or deny it based primarily on two factors: factualness and clarity.

“It might just die next week, or it might go forward,” Spencer said.

If the board denies the proposed language, Boots has the right to appeal the decision via Lapeer County Circuit Court within 10 days.

Likewise, Ireland would have the same right if the election commission approves the proposed recall language.

Should the recall efforts essentially be blocked at the circuit court level, Spencer said, new recall language can still be submitted.

If the current recall efforts move forward, Boots would have to gather signatures from citizens. The number of signatures is based on a percentage of how many residents voted in the most recent gubernatorial election. Spencer said 670 valid signatures would be needed.

Spencer said she would have to verify the validity of each and every signature.

Because proposed recalls can only be on the ballot in May or November, Spencer said all the requirements must be met by Aug. 3.

If it makes it to that point, Ireland would have to declare herself a candidate to be re-elected to her seat. If she doesn’t, a Republican candidate would have to be nominated.

Likewise, a Democratic candidate would have to be nominated. Potential independent candidates could also file to run.

“It’s a recall and an election all at the same time,” Spencer said. “It’s the top vote-getter that’s going to fill that partial term.”

Ireland was elected to a four-year term in November 2016.

In the August 2016 primary, Ireland ousted incumbent Terry Jostock, 852-722.

“I am honored, overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support from the voters of the township, but I also feel a touch of pride, and hope to be the first woman nominee for Mayfield Township supervisor, second female supervisor in the county,” Ireland said after the primary. “It really is amazing. I just want to say thank you to everyone in the community who supported me and who spread the word about my candidacy. I promise to hold strong to making all the changes and advancements that I talked about in my campaign.”

During the campaign, Ireland said she had lived in Mayfield Township for 20 years.

“I moved to Mayfield Township to marry my husband,” she said. “Though I was a city girl, I found that I liked a small, close knit community. After hiring into Mayfield Township as administrative assistant over 19 years ago I found that I loved our township. We were like a family that cared about each other and our community.”

Ireland indicated her background includes studying general business, accounting, retail and computers. Her employment background originally was in the building industry, doing bookkeeping, sales and inventory, and she worked as an estimator for a builder. She was administrative assistant for Mayfield Township for 17 years and deputy clerk for Oregon Township for more than a year.

Additionally, Ireland has served as a precinct delegate. She has also served on the Lapeer County Republican Party Executive Committee, as Chair of the Membership Committee, served on the Lincoln Day Dinner and Communication Committees and many other small sub committees.

Ireland said in July 2016 that she wants the best for the township, and that has prompted her to run for supervisor.

“Also after witnessing the absence of a supervisor for the last four years that I worked at Mayfield Township, I felt our taxpayers deserve to have someone that comes in every day as our past supervisors did and many supervisors that I know personally currently do in their communities today.”

Ireland identified what she viewed as several pressing issues: board members taking insurance money in cash, and excessive raises. Ireland said she would strive to make township departments run more efficiently. She also noted nepotism as a major problem in the township, and that detailed minutes should be available.

In a story that appeared in the July 24, 2016 issue of The County Press, Ireland said “Many residents have come to me after I left (as administrative assistant) and told me no one knows what they are talking about at the township

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