The Alpena County Election Commission determined the recall petition language submitted by Alpena's Cindy Johnson to remove Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora, and couniclmen Mike Nunneley and Dave Karschnick is worded correctly and suitable for the November ballot should enough signatures be gathered.
During a clarity hearing Tuesday morning Alpena County Clerk Bonnie Friedrich, treasurer Joelyn McCallum and Judge Tom LaCross said the four issues on the recall petition should be understood by those who read it on a ballot. The three Alpena Municipal Council members now have 10 days to appeal and also have a chance to draft rebuttal ballot verbiage of their own in 200 or less words.
During proceedings all three of the council members disputed parts of the language and Mayor Waligora questioned the merits of the accusations made in the petition. LaCross said the purpose of the meeting was to only rule on the clarity of the wording and not to question the validity of the claims made by Johnson.
"This puts the people on notice and now it is up to them to decide on the merit," LaCross said. "It also is now up to the mayor and the councilmen to respond as they see fit. Somebody could absolutely lie on a petition, but that is not why we are here today. We are here to rule on the clarity and not the merit. We will leave it to the voters to decide if they believe the accusations are valid."
Before the meeting's end Dave Karschnick notified the commission of his intent to appeal its ruling, while Waligora and Nunneley were non- committal for now.