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Petition language approved to seek recall of BAS board member

After two previous unsuccessful attempts, a petition effort filed by a Brighton woman to recall a member of the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education is moving forward.

A petition seeking the recall of Trustee Bill Trombley was approved Monday on a 3-0 vote of the Livingston County Election Commission. It was filed by local attorney Sarah Cross who alleges he failed to read the board packet prior to the September 27th meeting. It failed to advance earlier this month due to a dating error. Cross immediately corrected that and resubmitted it. Trombley did not appear for either of the last two hearings.

The other petition seeking the removal of Trustee John 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, who said Hundley and Nash specifically took issue with the phrase “sent this email” as being unclear and confusing, appealed that decision on Monday to the Livingston County Circuit Court this week. Cross says if no decision is issued within 40 days, the petition language will be considered valid and they can begin collecting signatures.

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”.

With Monday’s approval of the Trombley petition, a total of 5,472 signatures must now be obtained from registered voters within the BAS district. While the recall language would be valid for 180 days from the date of approval, the required signatures must be gathered within a 60 day timeframe.

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