Thetford township officials could face recall over military surplus dispute
THETFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. —
It's a small town, with political drama.
Two Thetford Township officials could be facing a recall election after raising concerns about the township police chief's misuse of military surplus gear.
Some Thetford Township residents are hoping to recall the township supervisor and a trustee, after they were charged with trespassing.
"I got six cameras, we caught Gary and Stan driving around my farm, going out back looking at the military equipment and they were told specifically not to trespass," says Eugene Lehr.
It all started earlier this month.
That's when supervisor Gary Stevens and trustee Stan Piechnik accused the police chief of improperly using and storing millions of dollars’ worth of military equipment, given to the township by the department of defense.
"There's all this equipment out there, the police chief was hired to protect and do the duties of a policeman and he's gone off into this collection of machinery and the program is a good program but the money was supposed to come into the township and help the police department,” says Piechnik.
Wednesday, there was a hearing in Genesee County Circuit Court to approve the language on the recall petitions. although the panel which included county clerk John Gleason reviewed the recall, they made it very clear that they did not support the recall petition.
"If you don't break the law if you don't do something that demeaning or offensive in the public eye then you should be able to stay in office and do your job without being hindered by a personality fight. This is nothing but a personality fight, that's all this is," says Gleason.
The petition for Piecnick was approved but the one for Stevens was rejected because of a grammatical error. Piechnik says he doesn't agree with how the word crime is defined in court.
"Their definition is every time you break an ordinance, it's a crime and I don't think there's a person alive that has not broken an ordinance so basically were all criminals," says Piechnik
The recall petition for Piechnik will require signatures of 25 percent of the Township's voters. It was unclear if they will refile the petition for the township manager.