Flint, MI — Recall petition language submitted against Flint City Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer was approved at a Genesee County Election Commission meeting on July 27, 2023, while language filed against Councilman Eric Mays was voted down.

In the filing against Mays, petitioner Dione Freeman stated the 1st ward councilman should face recall as he “was charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct.”

Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson, who was filling in at the Election Commission meeting for Genesee County Treasurer Deb Cherry, said that he was favoring the motion to deem it as not clear and factual because being charged and being convicted are different.

“In this petition, it says he was charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct,” Swanson said. “Clearly, charges and convictions are two different things, innocent until proven guilty on a charge and the sentence doesn’t indicate if that was a sentence for the original charge.”

Flint City Council Member Eric Mays during the interview process for the selection of a permanent city clerk during a special City Council meeting at the Flint City Hall Council Chambers on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

Following the meeting, Mays told Flint Beat, “It’s my job to defend my office and to continue to serve the residents of the City of Flint and if she ever gets past step one, [I] encourage people not to participate in this particular nonsense.”

Freeman said she is planning to file more petition language, but she said she’s unsure what the new language will be.

“That’s what I’m thinking about right now, if I want to keep the same language because there’s a whole lot of things that could be put on the record that is factual,” she said.

Freeman originally filed a recall petition against Mays on June 21, citing that the councilman was charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct. That recall language against Mays was voted down due to it not including a date of the misdemeanor.

However, the language filed against Pfeiffer was approved, and Pfeiffer told Flint Beat he plans to appeal it.

During the meeting, Pfeiffer shared an affidavit to the election commission, which consisted of Genesee County Clerk Domonique Clemons, Judge Jennie E. Barkey and Swanson. The affidavit was from Flint’s Network Coordinator Andrew Foster, clarifying that the meeting in question was not posted online 24 hours in advance, as is required by Flint’s charter, he said.

Pfeiffer also argued that the language is not clear and factual because it says “general city bus” at the end of it.

“To my knowledge as a fiduciary of the City of Flint, we do not own any buses, nor were any buses on the agenda for that meeting,” Pfeiffer said.

Nonetheless, Barkey made a motion finding that the language was clear and factual and it was approved.

The language, filed by Joelana Freeman, follows similar wording to recalls submitted against former councilwoman Allie Herkenroder, Council Vice President Ladel Lewis and Councilmembers Judy Priestley and Eva Worthing within the last month. It cites a special meeting held on May 20, 2023, addressing the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, which Pfeiffer and other city council members did not attend.

The May meeting took place in the Dome Auditorium at Flint City Hall and was called by Councilmembers Tonya Burns and Mays. Councilmembers Quincy Murphy and Jerri Winfrey-Carter also attended the meeting.

The recall language submitted against Lewis and Worthing was approved at the June 27, 2023 election commission hearing. The recall language was approved against Priestly at the July 11, 2023 election commission meeting. To move forward with the recall process, petitioners need to collect 510 signatures for Worthing, 785 for Lewis and 515 for Priestley.

Sophia is Flint Beat's City Hall reporter. She joins the team after previously reporting for the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal, along with some freelance work with The New York Times....

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