The Marquette County Election Commission voted two to one Wednesday morning to reject Michael Neiger’s recall petitions because their language wasn’t factually accurate enough. However, Neiger believes he received a fair hearing.
“I wish they had granted me a continuance so I could get what I consider the best evidence in here, and that’s an audio and a video (recording) of the City Commission meeting when this transpired,” Neiger said. “I understand that they had to go with what was represented and what is the official city record.”
City Attorney Ron Keefe and the three commissioners named on the recall petitions argued that the commission voted on March 10th to have Keefe prepare a license for a new U.P. Community Rowing Club boathouse. The license would then have to come back to the commission again for final approval. Neiger’s petitions said that Dave Campana, Mike Coyne and Sarah Reynolds voted for final approval right then and there.
“I don’t think that recall is how you go about trying to get rid of somebody that you don’t like,” Reynolds said. “I think that that’s what you do at the election box, and I think that that is clear. I don’t think he would have gotten his 1,400 signatures that he would have needed to recall us.”
The official status of the proposed new boathouse is up in the air, with more than one location being considered.
“(Marquette Police Chief) Mike Angeli has been working as our acting city manager and working very hard to work with the opposition and the proponents of this, and coming up with a solution between the two,” Reynolds said. “The current solution is, we would publicly own it.”
“The city made a contract with its citizens after years of planning how the Founders Landing area was to be developed,” Neiger said. “The average person would have a sliver of beach along Lake Superior. It was theirs in perpetuity, and this isn’t the case now.”
Neiger can appeal the decision within 10 days, but he might not do it because he’s leaving Friday on a 10-day business trip out of the country. If he does file an appeal, the recall issue will remain in the Marquette County Courthouse. It’ll move from the Probate Courtroom, where the clarity hearing was held, to Circuit Court.