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August 27, 2019
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Flint City Councilwoman Kate Fields won't be facing a recall election in November after nearly 500 of 825 signatures were ruled invalid.
Posted on August 27, 2019
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
Signatures not sufficient to put recall question on ballot for Flint City Councilwoman Kate Fields
FLINT (CCN) — The recall effort against a Flint City Council member won't make it on the November 2019 ballot. A letter from Genesee County Clerk John Gleason informed recall leader Michael Doan Monday that his petitions contained only 332 valid signatures of registered voters within the 4th Ward who signed to remove Kate Fields from office. Doan needed to get 555 valid signatures. He turned in 825.
Proposed language was rejected twice before Doan was able to get wording for petitions approved by the Genesee County Election Commission. He had until Aug. 2 to turn in signatures as a cut-off date to force the recall election on the November 2019 ballot.
Fields is one of four city council members facing recall attempts. Language was also approved against 3rd Ward Councilman Santino Guerra, 7th Ward Councilwoman Monica Galloway and 8th Ward Councilman Allan Griggs. The state statute allows 180 days to gather sufficient signatures within a 60-day window within the 180-day period.
A letter went out to Fields and recall leader Doan on Monday to inform them of the ballot proposal being rejected, according to County Clerk Gleason.
Doan vowed to re-file the recall against Fields.
"I found out about it yesterday," Doan said. "We're disappointed, especially the way we had to rush to meet a deadline that we believe was actually two weeks later. I believe the extra two weeks would have made a big difference." Doan was interviewed with 1st Ward City Councilman Eric Mays who led the signature-gathering process for Doan and local businessman Wilbur "Pappa" Jarrett.
Jarrett could not be reached for comment but Mays admitted the local businessman is financing the efforts of recalls against all four who have had language approved to begin gathering signatures to force recall elections to make it to the ballot.
Councilman Mays said, "It's disappointed and a blow to my politics because my hope was to get a 5-to-4 advantage on the council. I'm tired fighting with these knuckleheads. My hope was to get rid of at least one to hopefully get that 5-to-4 minimum to get things moved through council. It's a joke trying to work with these people on here."
Doan was beaten as a first-time candidate when running against Fields in 2017 when she won her first regular four-year term. She was originally appointed to the council to fill a vacancy after Josh Freeman stepped down from the 4th Ward seat. Fields beat Doan by a landslide in November 2017 when winning by exactly a two-to-one margin at 666 votes to 330. "I was busy with my businesses and didn't have enough time to devote to the election," Doan said about his loss. He says Fields is "very unpopular" with residents in his ward.
Councilman Mays agreed, saying, "We picked Fields to get done first because we felt she was the most unpopular."
Councilwoman Fields has not yet responded to a request for a comment.
Gleason rejected numerous social media posts that suggested fraudulent activities were associated with any signatures. "That's just not true at all," Gleason said. "The city clerk's office in Flint simply found lots of signatures from people who didn't live in the 4th Ward. Some were from people in Burton or Flint Township or Mt. Morris."
Gleason said 180 signatures were immediately disqualified during a preliminary examination by his office as required by state law. He said Flint City Clerk Inez Brown's office got the petitions for review on Aug. 8 and returned them to the County Clerk's office on Aug. 23 with 313 more removed for various reasons.