Greenleaf Township supervisor facing recall May 5

Greenleaf Township voters will be asked to choose a supervisor in the May 5 election. (Times Herald file photo)

Greenleaf Township voters will be asked to choose a supervisor in the May 5 election. (Times Herald file photo)

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

After months of turmoil, Greenleaf Township residents will decide who will lead the municipality May 5.

The recall of township Supervisor Kirk Winter is the only local race on the May ballot. He’s facing two challengers in the recall effort against him — Rodney Mazure, a township resident, and Randy Schuette, who is a trustee on the township board.

Ronald Brzuchowski filed the recall petition alleging Winter moved forward with purchasing a new township hall without board approval.

In September, the board began talks about buying six acres of property and an 86-by-120-foot building from All Star Sevices at 6345 Bay City-Forestville Road that would serve as the new township hall.

In the end, the board approved purchasing the property at its Nov. 20 meeting after Winter had put down a deposit on the township’s behalf. The township now owns the property, but has not moved into the building.

Sanilac County Clerk Denise McGuire said the top vote-getter will complete Winter’s current term, which ends in December 2016.

Winter, who has served as the township’s supervisor for the last 16 years, said he has never seen anything like this and insists he has done nothing wrong.

“It’s been nerve racking over these last few months,” he said. “It’s nonsense. This money that we used (for the new hall) we’ve had set aside for over 25 years.”

Winter says buying the township hall had to be taken care of fast because two other parties were interested at the time.

“This was a need that was long overdue. My board agreed to it and we are moving forward. It’s too bad that a good thing like this has to turn sour because of a personal vendetta,” Winter said, referring to Mazure, who ran against him and lost during the previous election.

Mazure did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Winter said he expects there to be at least a 50 percent turnout because of the state proposal that will also be on the ballot.

Schuette is in his first term as a board trustee and said he is running based on how the purchase of the township hall was handled.

Schuette was in favor of buying the property and building, but said there would have been enough time to call a special meeting and vote on it properly.

“The situation could have been handled better, but I do feel the building in question was a good fit for our township,” he said. “I’m interested in taking on this position. I’ve got a flexible schedule and would make myself available to any township business as needed. Kirk and I are friends and whatever the results may be we will still be friends.”

If Schuette is elected, the township board would have to appoint someone for the duration of his term as trustee.

Trustee Ken Brown has been on the board for two years and says he does not know how the recall accomplishes anything.

“I think this recall is ridiculous,” he said. “I don’t think Kirk did anything that warrants to this extent. Every move he makes is being analyzed now. I hope there are better times ahead.”

Brown said the election will be held at the old township hall on Gilbert Road. The building is small and considered out of date as township employees work out of their homes.

Come election day, Brown said he believes Winter is the best man for the job.

“We lost a lot of experience in the last election,” Brown said. “There are three of us on the board that are new. I’d like to keep some experience on the board for a while.”

Another change to the board is expected to come before the May election.

Treasurer Louis Laming resigned March 28 after more than 20 years of service.

Brown said a new treasurer has not yet been chosen, but a special meeting will be set by the end of April to make a selection.

The board meets once every other month.

“The best time (to resign) would be now because the new summer taxes come out in July and I want to give them enough time to adjust,” Laming said. “I got tired of all the paperwork, I want to spend some time with my family.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on April 7, 2015)

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