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Politics & Government

Recall petition against State Rep who introduced EFM laws denied

Knowles,_Dennis_in_office.jpg
Lindsey Smith
/
Michigan Radio
Benton Harbor City Commissioner Dennis Knowles reviews recall language at his office in city hall. Most of Knowles' power was stripped away by the city's state appointed emergency manager.

Election officials in Southwest Michigan rejected language for a recall petition against State Representative Al Pscholka this morning. They rejected the language because they said it wasn’t clear enough.

Benton Harbor City Commissioner Dennis Knowles filed the recall petition. Knowles wants to recall Pscholka for supporting the state’s new law that gives emergency managers more power over cities and school districts with major financial problems.

Knowles says the new laws “trash democracy.”

“For specific reasons, that it allows super powers for dictatorship for a emergency financial manager; doing away with municipal governments and school boards.”

The law has provisions that could allow an emergency manager to ask the governor to remove elected officials from office.

Pscholka's response

Pscholka says most of people he talks to in Benton Harbor say they support the law. 

“Most of them really are kind of sick and tired of the financial mismanagement, the patronage, and really what some folks would describe as corruption.”

He says residents in Benton Harbor are being used as political pawns. He notes the city has had financial problems for several years.

Knowles says he’ll submit new, clearer recall language as soon as tomorrow morning.

There are two main points in the language he will change. The first is a reference to the new EFM laws. Knowles referenced Public Act 4, which modified powers of EFMs. But he didn’t include the year, so officials said it wasn’t clear which Public Act 4 he was referring to.

The second is his choice to use the phrase “robbed the citizens of district 79” in referring to what he feels Public Act 4 of 2011has done. He says he’ll replace that language so it’s clearer.

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