Burke targeted by new Taylor recall effort

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — It’s deja vu all over again as Taylor voters may be asked to sign recall petitions to remove an elected official from office. It’s doubtful, however — according to organizers — that a ballot question to remove City Council Chairwoman Cheryl Burke will get that far.

During this month’s general election, voters rejected an attempt to oust Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand. In spite of petition organizers obtaining enough signatures to put the question before voters, 5,759 “no” votes rejected the attempt against 3,893 supportive ballots.

This time, the group known as Take Back Taylor is targeting Burke for an alleged vote taken in closed session concerning a lawsuit two months ago that petition organizer Charley Johnson said was later revised in the meeting’s minutes.

“She voted for something that she wasn’t supposed to,” Johnson said. “She was supposed to abstain and she didn’t, then she changed the minutes to look like she did abstain.”

Burke had her own questions regarding the supposed vote.

“I wasn’t at that meeting,” Burke said. “It was a closed door item. Closed door sessions are confidential,” and Burke wondered how Johnson obtained any information from the meeting.

Proposed ballot language was submitted to the Wayne County Elections office on Nov. 8 — election day. Johnson said that a clarity hearing for the recall is scheduled for tomorrow, after which he will decide whether or not to pursue the necessary 3,800 signatures for ballot placement.

Launching the effort seems unlikely. One person who answered Take Back Taylor’s published phone number said the original plan was to, “piggy-back a successful recall attempt (on Lamarand). Obviously we’re not going to put the city through another election.”

Johnson and his supporters have been relentless in efforts to unseat certain elected officials. The general election recall for Lamarand was the second attempt to remove the mayor; last year Burke and Councilwoman Jill Brandana were subject to an unsuccessful recall petition drive.

“If we drop it, we drop it,” Johnson said last week of perhaps abandoning the effort. “If we get the signatures and a spe-
cial election is needed, it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m not going to cost the city any more money.”

The general election recall attempt cost the city an estimated $42,000, as without the ballot question the election would have been funded by Taylor Community Schools.

Johnson is a former city employee who was among those laid off due to budget shortfalls.