Flint, MI — Recall petition language submitted against Flint City Council President Allie Herkenroder, Vice President Ladel Lewis and Councilwoman Eva Worthing was approved at an election commission hearing on June 27, 2023.

Ebony Coleman, who resides in the city’s 7th ward, submitted the petition language against Herkenroder on June 2, 2023.

Lewis’ language was submitted by Sherry D. Allen on June 6, 2023, and Worthing’s language was submitted by Mary Alice Hawkins on June 7, 2023.

Coleman was the only one of the three filers in attendance at the hearing, and declined to comment to Flint Beat following it.

All three petitions’ language details that Herkenroder, Lewis and Worthing did not attend a special meeting on May 20, 2023, “which was properly noticed to update the processes for organizations and individuals applying for community grant program funding through the American Rescue Plan Act subsidies allocated by the city of Flint and other general city business.”

The election commission’s job was to deem whether that language was factual at the June 27 hearing.

Herkenroder was not present at the hearing, but Lewis and Worthing both told the commissioners that the special meeting was not properly noticed as required in the city’s charter, arguing that the petition language was not factual.

While each said that they’d not been given required notice of the meeting 24 hours in advance, the election commission, usually made up of Probate Judge Jennie Barkey, Genesee County Clerk Domonique Clemons and County Treasurer Deb Cherry, voted to approve the language for all three petitions. Cherry was not present at the hearing on June 27.

Since Herkenroder is resigning from city council, the petition against her will stop its process the day of her resignation, July 1, 2023, according to Genesee County Elections Supervisor Ellen Yope. Otherwise, the remaining councilwomen can file an appeal of the election commission’s ruling within 10 days.

Flint City President Allie Herkenroder looks at her colleagues during Flint City Council’s Special Affairs Committee meeting at Flint City Hall on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. (Michael Indriolo | Flint Beat)

If no appeals are filed in the 10 day window after approval, the recall petitions will move forward to the next step: gathering signatures to get them on the next eligible ballot.

The number of signatures required to trigger a recall election for a councilmember is 25% of the votes cast in the member’s district for all candidates for the office of Governor in the last gubernatorial election.

Following the election commission hearing, Worthing said she was surprised by the outcome, but she does not intend to file an appeal at this time.

“I was surprised that the language was approved given that the meeting wasn’t properly posted per our charter, so the ruling surprised me,” she said.

Lewis shared similar sentiments following the meeting, but she said she does plan to file an appeal of the ruling.

“[I am] deeply surprised, however, you know, the people will speak, so I’m not worried. But in the meantime, I will continue to do the work of the city as I’ve been doing since day one,” she said.

Aside from today’s ruling, recall petition language remains to be reviewed against Councilman Eric Mays. That hearing will occur at 2:30 p.m. on July 11, 2023 in the courtroom of Judge Jennie Barkey.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Genesee County Treasurer Deb Cherry was not present at the election commission hearing on June 27, 2023.

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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