It's been a long three months for members of the political action committee Recall Janice Daniels, who gathered Tuesday morning outside the Oakland County Elections Division offices in Pontiac to celebrate the filing of a petition to recall embattled Troy Mayor Janice Daniels.
If 7,985 of the group's signatures are verified, the recall issue will be put to Troy voters in the Nov. 6 general election.
Daniels first came under fire in December for her and has remained the center of controversy after (a was later approved), telling the Gay-Straight Alliance she would bring in an expert to tell them and writing a lengthy position paper some viewed as .
"It's wonderful to see a collaborative effort being put together by a group of volunteers that didn't know each other, that believed in a cause," Troy resident and recall volunteer Toby Gosselin said as she waited outside with other group members.
"I feel very satisfied that we reached enough of the Troy voters so that they got an opportunity to express their opinion about the job performance of the mayor," Troy resident and recall volunteer Sue Morgan added.
Moments later, the group, led by Recall Janice Daniels organizers Matt Binkowski and John Kulesz, marched into the building to submit the 9,300 signatures on 909 sheets, all contained in a cardboard box.
"It feels good," Binkowski said after filing the petition with the Oakland County Elections Division. "It's good that we've reached this stage and can now move on from here. It's kind of a little bit of a relaxation, but we can't let up on our efforts."
"The only thing I can say is, you people are impressive," Kulesz told the group after they had filed the petitions. "Thank you so very much. Matt and I have said from the beginning the only thing we can do is give Troy the opportunity to make this happen, and 125 people stepped up. I am genuinely, genuinely moved."
Binkowski said the next move for the group is to make sure Troy residents know the recall, if verified, will be on the November ballot.
"Next is fundraising and getting our message out to the voters. ... A recall is not for crimes in office—a recall is for when you have serious disagreements with the office holder."
Daniels said she does not agree with the reasons she is being recalled.
“The recall process is part of the representative republican form of government that we have, so we let the process work the way it was intended to," Daniels said. "I think it’s designed for when elected officials commit a crime, and I’ve committed no crime.”
Daniels said she believes the failed recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proof that citizens do not like recalls.
“I hope people will go to my website, janicetroymayor.com, to find out more about me," she added.
The group had until this Friday to file the recall petition and signatures with the county before the group's initial signatures begin to expire. According to state recall procedures, the department then has 22 days after the petition is filed to verify the signatures.
“Assuming they verify the signatures as valid and the number has been satisfied, then it would be something on the November election ballot," Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm said. "At that point, we would have to see which way the vote went."
Bluhm said the ballot item "would basically be ."
"It would be a yes or no question," Troy City Clerk Aileen Bittner said. “The law says that if there are more yes votes than no votes, that’s it.”
Bittner said what would happen next, if the mayor is recalled, is tricky.
“According to the charter, in the absence of the mayor, the mayor pro tem assumes responsibilities. Beyond that, the city attorney and I would need to do an analysis to determine what would happen next.”
For comprehensive coverage of the recall effort, visit the Troy Mayor Janice Daniels topic page.