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Judge orders approval of Conely recall petition

A local judge has determined that the Livingston County Election Commission was incorrect when they rejected the petition language for Brighton Area Schools Trustee John Conely.   

BAS Trustee John Conely

According to petition organizer Sarah Cross, Judge Matthew J. McGivney remanded the petition seeking Conely’s removal from office back to the Commission and ordered it to certify the language for circulation.   Essentially that means the recall against Conely can proceed and will join efforts already underway to remove fellow Trustee Bill Trombley as recall language for his ouster was already certified.

The petition seeking the removal of Conely was rejected by the panel on March 4 on a 2-1 vote. County Clerk Betsy Hundley and County Treasurer Jennifer Nash voted against it, while Probate Court Judge Miriam Cavanaugh was the lone vote in favor. Cross then appealed to the circuit court.

The petition seeks Conely’s ouster based on his language in an email to a former district employee who asked that he vote in favor of a mask mandate for students in the district to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In that email, Conely stated “You mean like Hitler did? Mandates, we don’t have laws to support them. We are not Socialists.”

That response prompted a rebuke from Carolyn Nornandin, the Regional Director the Anti-Defamation League of Michigan (ADL Michigan), said she was “deeply disturbed” by the statement which she said was “shameful” for “connecting current health policies during a pandemic, with an administration seeking to commit mass genocide of targeted groups”.

Trombley’s petition, which was approved on a 3-0 vote, alleges he failed to read the board packet prior to the September 27th meeting

Cross says she and other supporters will begin gathering signatures next Saturday and that once they do, they will have 60 days to collect the 5,500 signatures needed and then submit them to the Election Commission.  She says that at that point Conely and Trombley would have to run for their offices again in the November election.

Cross tells GIGO News that from her perspective, Conely has continued in his pattern of behavior she and others find unacceptable.

“Conely just left the last school board meeting early to attend the Republican Party Convention, leaving before his own agenda item was discussed because he continues to put partisan politics before his role as a non partisan school board member,” said Cross. “Given the recent humiliation of our District with Theis’s nationally broadcast bigotry, it’s more important than even to reign in these toxic politics and send a message to all children that they are supported.”

An email seeking comment from Conely has been sent.

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