(Updated with comment from Flint Mayor Karen Weaver)

FLINT, MI — City officials have determined that 5,951 of nearly 9,000 signatures submitted to recall Flint Mayor Karen Weaver are valid.

Flint resident Arthur Woodson turned in 780 petitions with nearly 9,000 signatures in hopes of recalling Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

Arthur Woodson, the man seeking to remove Weaver from office, turned in nearly 8,848 signatures after canvassing Flint neighborhoods for nearly 60 days with volunteers supporting Weaver’s recall.

On June 30, 2017, Woodson submitted 780 petition sheets to the Genesee County Clerk’s office. County Clerk John Gleason’s signed off on about 8,100 of those signatures that had to be verified by Flint City Clerk Inez Brown’s office.

Brown had until June 24, 2017, to verify and turn the signatures back over to Gleason’s office. Her office signed off on 5,951 of the estimated 8,100 signatures.

“I don’t find any pleasure in having to recall Flint’s mayor,” Woodson said. “But I can’t support what’s going on at city hall.” Woodson had to collect 5,750 signatures to put the issue on the November ballot with Flint’s city council race where Weaver could face challengers seeking to take her seat.

The  Genesee County Clerk’s office says Weaver has until July 31, 2017, to challenge the signatures.

Weaver said she is staying focused on work despite efforts to remove her from office.

“I am going to continue doing the job I was elected to do and will not be distracted,” said Weaver in a July 21email statement.

Woodson initially submitted recall language on Jan. 23, 2017. On January 27 he withdrew that language.

He filed his more language in February pointing at the city’s controversial trash dispute as for the reason. Woodson’s approved language was the fourth attempt to remove Weaver.

Woodson’s language read:

“Mayor Karen Weaver, on September 22, 2016, signed an emergency waste collection contract with Rizzo Environmental Service(s),” reads the language filed with the Genesee County Clerk’s Office on Feb. 24.

The trash dispute lingered for months as Flint City Council members and Weaver’s administration fought over whom would haul Flint’s garbage.

In June 2016, Weaver’s administration asked the council to approve a $17.9 million contract with Rizzo Environmental Services but council members questioned the company’s integrity and later voted 8 to 1 to not support Weaver’s recommendation.

Flint City Councilman Eric Mays was the sole supporter of Weaver’s recommendation.

Ultimately, the council and Weaver’s team came to an agreement to continue using Republic Waste Services to haul Flint’s trash shortly after October 2016 reports that Rizzo was at the center of a federal corruption investigation.

Flint Beat‘s founder and publisher, Jiquanda Johnson is a Flint-area native with more than 16 years of experience in journalism including print, television and digital media. She has worked for The...