REPUBLIC - Republic Township Supervisor Gary Johnson has issued a response to claims made in a recall petition against him.
The petition, filed by Republic Township resident Fred Nannestad, specifies nine charges against Johnson. The petition language was recently approved by the Marquette County Election Commission. Friday, Johnson released his response - which was also mailed to township residents - to those claims.
"To recall a person does not require that the accusations be truthful - they only have to be understandable," Johnson said in his written response. "I've worked for the rebuilding of this area since 1986, when I started the first Republic Ethnic Days, and 1988 when I started the first Republic EDC (economic development committee).
If the voters do not want the direction I've tried to lead the community in, they have the right to vote for my recall. Until that time, I'll continue to work, trying to make this a place where everyone wants, and has a chance, to live. I stand on my record."
Specifically, Johnson responded to the nine charges:
- That he raised assessed property values 12 percent. Johnson argued the increase was due to a state mandated 1.7 percent increase in cost of living and an increase to assessed values because of a Marquette County sales study.
- That he charged for Freedom of Information Act requests. Johnson argued he does not have authority over township billing.
- That he failed to pave Hawks Drive. Johnson argued the paving of the drive stalled because of a grant that was not awarded. The grant has since been resubmitted.
- That he failed to provide supervision for the Department of Public Works, allowing for the deterioration of the sewer system. Johnson said the repair work again hinged on a grant that did not come through. That grant has also been resubmitted.
- That he failed to take corrective action on statements from two township audits and condoned the payment of township bills with checks with two different sets of check numbers.
Johnson said he, as supervisor, does not have legal authority in the areas of township bookkeeping.
- That he failed to keep minutes of the TIFA board as its secretary. Johnson said one set of minutes had been misfiled and have since been found and approved by the board.
Johnson has been serving as supervisor since 2004. To move to a recall election, the petition must gather 116 signatures.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.