Onaway recalls stalled

ROGERS CITY — The Onaway woman who wants to oust four trustees on the Onaway Area Schools Board of Education intends to refile recall petition language after the language was rejected unanimously by a Cheboygan County board.

After the Cheboygan County elections board rejected her recall petition language, Onaway’s Stacey Porter also withdrew her recall filing in Presque County. The hearing to determine the facts and legitimacy of the recall language was canceled.

Porter filed recall petitions against Onaway school board President James Rieger, Vice President Erin Chaskey, Secretary Lorrie Kowalski, and Trustee John Palmer.

Porter did not return a message from The News seeking comment.

Stacey Porter’s mother, Annette Porter, is currently a trustee on the Onaway Board of Education.

A video of the hearing of the Cheboygan County elections board was posted on Porter’s Facebook page and shows the discussion pertaining to the recall language between Probate Judge Daryl Vizina, County Clerk Karen Brewster, and County Treasurer Buffy Jo Weldon.

Before the three-to-zero vote to deny the language, Vizina said it is the board’s duty to make sure the claims and accusations on the recall filing are accurate. He said there were portions of the language that he believed were not clear.

“There is a lack of factual information, and, I believe, content based on opinion,” he said.

The hearing in Rogers City was slated for Friday, but Presque Isle County Clerk Ann Marie Main said in an email on Tuesday that Porter withdrew the submitted langage. Main added that Porter has indicated an intent to refile for a recall, but a new hearing date can’t be set until she does.

Porter listed several accusations of conduct that she believes are grounds for the board members to be recalled, including

∫ Chaskey allegedly was named in a grievance filed by an Onaway teacher over negative comments made to the teacher during an open meeting on Sept. 20.

∫ Rieger allegedly made negative comments about board members and district administrators in a local restaurant on June 16.

∫ Palmer allegedly got into a verbal dispute with a coach following a board meeting on Sept. 20.

∫ Kowalski allegedly made derogatory remarks about a teacher in a public committee meeting on Sept. 20.

Recent Onaway school board meetings have become tumultuous. There have been several outbursts as trustees and residents engaged in several intense disagreements during meetings and finger-pointing and accusations among the board members themselves.

The friction at a meeting earlier this month led to the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office being called. Two deputies arrived at the school near the conclusion of the meeting.


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