Recall petition filed in Onaway
ONAWAY – An Onaway city resident unhappy with plans to get rid of the city’s police department has filed petition language to recall the mayor and two city commissioners.
Judy Shaloy filed the language Wednesday to recall Mayor Gary Wregglesworth and Commissioners Jessie Horrocks and Chuck Abshagen. She did so because she believes voters have lost trust in the mayor and commissioners’ ability to make decisions in the best interest of Onaway citizens. The petition language also states the city officials have refused to explore all options to keep the city’s police department.
In the wake of the city commission’s early discussions of a plan to have Chief Jim Gibson become a Presque Isle County sheriff’s deputy, Shaloy and some friends formed a committee called Citizens for a Safer Community. She and others concerned with the plan had their chance to speak and ask questions at a city commission meeting Wednesday.
“They had a city meeting yesterday and they were very responsive,” she said. “They gave us time to talk and ask questions, but why now? And that’s what we asked them, why are you being so open with us now when you haven’t been for the past two or three years?”
Before Shaloy and other recall supporters can gather signatures, the petition language must be approved at a clarity hearing, County Clerk Ann Marie Main said. This is scheduled for April 24 at 10 a.m.
Abshagen said he plans to attend that meeting and, if he has the opportunity, to point out what he believes are “flaws and errors” in the petition language.
“They said we haven’t taken into consideration the options that have been presented to us by the group, and that’s not true,” he said. “We have taken the options into consideration, and to the opinion of myself and apparently the rest of (the commissioners), this is the best option to pursue.”
While Abshagen said he’s not shocked to learn of the recall effort, he believes it’s groundless and there is no legal justification for one.
“We’re doing what is financially correct for the city of Onaway,” he said.
Horrocks had similar comments, saying her main concern is the financial well-being of the city, and that she doesn’t believe there is a valid reason for the recall.
“We’ve been running at a deficit for a number of years now, and we need to not just patch that hole, we need to fix it totally,” she said. “When we went through our budget, the police department – we have a one-man police department and so that’s what we chose. We are checking other options and are still checking them.”
Wregglesworth could not be reached for comment.