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Recall language submitted to remove Michigamme Township Supervisor from office

Marquette County Election Commission to hold hearing on recall language against William Seppanen next week
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:42 PM EST
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MICHIGAMME TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette County Election Commission will hold a hearing next week to rule on recall language filed to remove Michigamme Township Supervisor William Seppanen from his elected position.

On Monday, Elizabeth Koenig filed the recall language against Seppanen, calling for removal from his position as Township Supervisor.

“(Seppanen) took actions that resulted in the E. Lake St./S. Max St. gazebo being removed from a public access site in reprisal against people who were opposed to giving part of lake frontage right of way to [a] private property owner. This greatly degrades public access to the lake for township people,” the petition language reads.

The petition refers to the gazebo removed from an area known as the Michigamme Pocket Park in July, which intensified debate in the township about the gazebo.

The question of the gazebo being allowed to remain in the location originally stemmed from a debate about the legal use of the land at the corner of Lake and Max streets.

In the July article from TV6, Seppanen had said that the action of removing the gazebo abided by a state law that says when a street ends at a waterfront, there can be no lounging, sunbathing, or picnicking in that area.

After the gazebo’s removal, Seppanen had said, “At the June board meeting the township discussed it, read the letter again from the Road Commission and then made the decision that we would follow the Road Commissions request not to call it a park and we were going to move the gazebo.”

In a phone call to TV6 Wednesday Seppanen responded to the recall language filed against him.

Seppanen reiterated the reason behind the Township Board’s vote in June after receiving a letter from the Road Commission.

He said after the board read the letter to township residents, they voted 3-2 “to move the gazebo off of Road Commission property... to the township park, which is on the end of East Main Street, which is a township park supported by taxpayer money.”

Seppanen also clarified that the Michigamme Township Board has never agreed to, nor may they legally give land to anyone for less than a market-value sale.

“The Township Board has never promised to give land, and it’s against the law for the township to give any land to anybody,” Seppanen said. “It can be sold, but it has to be sold at fair market value, not a penny less than the fair market value.”

The Marquette County Election Commission will meet on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 8:15 a.m. in the Probate Courtroom, located on the ground floor of the Henry A. Skewis Courthouse Annex in Marquette to rule on the recall petition language filed against Seppanen. It’s a clarity/factual hearing. Seppanen is allowed to appear.

County Clerk Linda Talsma says it is important to emphasize that the function of the Election Commission is to “determine whether each reason for the recall stated in the petition is factual and of sufficient clarity to enable the officer whose recall is sought and the electors to identify the course of conduct that is the basis for the recall.” The Election Commission does not have the authority to rule on the reasons for recall as only the clarity and factual nature of the recall language is subject to the Commission’s review.

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