Township supervisor faces recall in Alcona Co.
HARRISVILLE — The recall of Curtis Township Supervisor Darrell Kenyon will be on the May 7 ballot in Alcona County.
Voters will have the choice to vote for Kenyon, a Democrat, to stay in office, or vote for Gary Griffith, an independent, to take Kenyon’s place until November 2020.
The recall petition accuses Kenyon of misrepresenting the Curtis Township Hall’s operating expenses to justify his decision to decline permanently obtaining the building from Oscoda Area Schools. The petition, circulated by Glennie resident Christopher Clouse, also says Kenyon continues to misrepresent his intentions regarding township facilities and excludes the public from the decision-making process.
Kenyon declined to comment on the recall petition language, saying the issue should be between him and Griffith.
“That makes it clear that people have a choice, but the allegations that I am hearing coming out don’t come from Mr. Griffith,” he said, adding he would rather answer questions in a common format where the candidates are asked the same questions. “I think that would be a wonderful format, but I’m not too enthusiastic about answering questions that he’s not posing, (that) some other entity I’m not running against is posing, and I think you can understand why.”
Griffith, in a separate interview with The News, also accused Kenyon of misrepresenting facts.
Alcona County Clerk Stephany Eller verified 169 of the 191 signatures on the petition, more than the 142 needed for the recall question to appear on the ballot.
Clouse said Curtis Township used to lease the former Glennie Elementary School from the Oscoda school district and used the building as the township hall and as a community center for functions such as bingo, parties or wedding receptions.
He said the township had the opportunity to purchase the building from the school district, but claims that Kenyon “lied” about the cost of propane and the electric bills.
Clouse said he currently owns the elementary school building and purchased it in August 2017, while the township still leased it.
The school district’s audit from the 2017-18 fiscal year shows the building sold for $707,051.
Clouse said Kenyon continued to misrepresent his intentions when he asked voters in November to approve a millage for a new township hall and community center. That millage was voted down by taxpayers 362 to 209, according to election results posted online by the Alcona County Clerk’s Office.
Clouse said he found out Kenyon was misrepresenting the township’s operational costs while he was trying to make the building more energy efficient for the township. He learned the expenses were “greatly inflated” after filing a Freedom of Information Act request.
“It was only by accident that I stumbled across this,” Clouse said. “I didn’t know that he was intentionally lying because he wanted to get a brand-new building passed.”
Clouse said the township had planned to continue leasing the building but ultimately decided to move out. Clouse said he was going to lease the building to the township for $1,000 a month, plus the cost of operating expenses.
In a written statement provided to The News, Kenyon said the building was bought “by a local individual with the intention of renting it to the township, which would have been exorbitant.
“I was against this,” he said in the statement. “It was not in the best interest of the citizens of Curtis Township.”
Kenyon said the expenses could “ultimately be unlimited” and that the township could be financially responsible for expenses such as asbestos removal, sewer repair, air conditioning, new heating and a new roof.
“I stand with the board, as always, trying to make the best financial decisions that benefit the township citizens as a whole, not just one individual,” the statement read. “I will not allow one person to make money at the taxpayers’ expense.”
Griffith said he decided to run against Kenyon at the encouragement of friends and business owners he respects.
Griffith said Oscoda Area Schools offered to sell the former Glennie Elementary to the township, but Kenyon turned down the offer. The public was told the elementary school needed a new roof, but the roof was under warranty. He said Kenyon also asked voters to support a millage to build a new township hall and fire station, but didn’t have a site plan, architectural drawings, or anything he could show the public. Griffith said he doesn’t believe Kenyon is looking out for Curtis Township.
He said there’s “something broke in our township” and that “it’s time for a change.”
Crystal Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-358-5687.