THETFORD TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (12/2717) - The effort to recall a Mid-Michigan township trustee has been given approval to move forward, but a related attempt to recall a township supervisor hit a snag.
The controversy is linked to surplus military equipment.
The two officials from Genesee County's Thetford Township say they just want to know where that military equipment is being stored.
Trustee Stan Piechnik Sr. and Supervisor Gary Stevens are the targets of the recall effort. The petition wording for Piechnik's recall was approved by the Genesee County Election Commission, but Stevens' recall petition was stopped on a technicality.
The recall effort stems from a program started by Thetford Township Police Chief Robert Kenny to obtain surplus military equipment like Humvees. The township now has so much equipment that it has run out of storage space and keeps some of it on property owned by Eugene Lehr.
Piechnik and Stevens were issued citations recently for trespassing when they went looking for it.
"I got them on camera. I've got six cameras. We caught Gary and Stan driving around my farm, going out back, looking at the military equipment," Lehr said.
He and others are using the trespassing incident as the grounds to have Piechnik and Stevens recalled. At times the two township officials have supposedly tangled with other residents.
"It's become a personal vendetta by those two against various people, apparently myself included," said Greg Bryan, a Thetford Township resident.
Organizers now have 60 days the collect enough petition signatures for Piechnik's recall election. But because wording on the petition to recall Stevens was confusing, it was rejected by the Election Commission.
"This is nothing more than a personality clash. That's all it is," said Genesee County Clerk John Gleason.
Organizers will have to decide if they will resubmit the petition wording to have Stevens recalled.