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Board approves recall petition language against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A recall petition against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver cleared a major hurdle today.  

The Genesee County Board of Electors voted two to one to approve language for the recall petition.  The decision allows Weaver’s critics to begin collecting signatures.  

Organizer Arthur Woodson says people are upset with the way Mayor Weaver has been running city hall, much in the same way they were when they voted against her predecessor in 2015.

“The people spoke back then and it was because of the water.  And people are speaking again because of the water,” says Woodson.

While Woodson frequently mentions Flint’s water crisis, the recall petition specifically mentions Weaver’s effort to hire a new city garbage hauler.  

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
“It’s been time ever since July of last year…we are worse off than we were before," recall petition organizer Arthur Woodson told reporters after being asked if now was a good time to change leadership at Flint city hall

Last year, Weaver pushed to hire Rizzo Environmental Services to pick up Flint’s trash. A majority on the Flint city council pushed back, preferring to keep the city’s old garbage hauler, Republic, on the job.   For a time, both companies raced around town emptying garbage cans.

After Rizzo was linked, though never directly charged, in a federal corruption probe, Weaver dropped her opposition to renewing Republic’s contract. 

Weaver has been criticized for the Rizzo controversy and other decisions and actions she’s taken since becoming mayor 16 months ago. 

This is the third recall petition filed against Weaver. The two previous petitions were rejected by the Board of Electors when the individual submitting the language failed to provide evidence to back up the claims made in the recall.

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
“We obviously have the right to appeal,” says Weaver’s attorney Kendall Williams

Weaver’s critics are now shifting their focus on collecting petition signatures. Organizer Arthur Woodson says their goal is to collect 14,000 valid signatures over the next six months, double what would be needed to put a recall on the ballot.

However, it’s possible the recall petition drive will have to hit the brakes.  

“We obviously have the right to appeal,” says Weaver’s attorney Kendall Williams, who maintains the Board of Electors erred when they approved the recall petition language. 

When asked about the recall petition yesterday, Mayor Weaver said, “The devil is busy and I can’t help what people do.  I just decided I have to keep focused on what I’m supposed to do as an elected official. People can do whatever they want to do.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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