MAPS recall approved



Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Margaret Brumm’s recall petition filed against Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education trustees Jennifer Klipp and Jennifer Ray was approved 2-1 by the Marquette County Election Commission.

Presiding Judge Cheryl Hill and election commission Treasurer Jacqueline Solomon voted in favor of approving Brumm’s petition language at the Wednesday clarity hearing while county Clerk Linda Talsma voted against it.

Additionally, another petition calling for Brumm’s recall from the Marquette Board of Light and Power was denied in a separate hearing.

The purpose of the meeting was only to, as Hill said, “determine whether each reason for the recall stated in the petitions is factual and is sufficient to enable the officer whose recall is sought and the electors to identify the course of conduct that is the basis of the recall.”

Brumm gave a quick statement affirming her confidence in her petition’s wording.

“I believe these are basic, factual statements, no opinions, no conclusions and no extraneous matters associated with the petition language,” she said. “It is simply because the two named people voted to remove the Redmen/Redettes nickname for Marquette Senior High School.”

Klipp spoke on behalf of herself and Ray, detailing their dedication to the school board while refuting accusations Brumm made over the entire rebranding process.

Klipp first noted that all the back and forth of legal expenses, Freedom of Information Act requests and court hearings have been “paid for on the back of taxpayers.”

“The use of taxpayer money could have been avoided completely had Ms. Brumm and her supporters instead concentrated over the last 11 months on finding candidates to run for the three open school board positions in this November’s election,” she said.

As for Klipp’s and Ray’s votes to retire the Redmen nickname, Klipp said both her and Ray made it clear in their campaigns for their board positions that “those nicknames were no longer sustainable, either financially or through best education research and practices.”

She refuted the idea that the nickname issue was “recently manufactured,” cited all of the other positive things both board members have done for the district and described at length their commitment to the betterment of the community.

“Respectfully, Jen and I acutely understand that there are people in this community who are deeply saddened and offended by us retiring these nicknames,” she said. “There are also citizens who are thankful that this issue is finally been put to rest after 25 years.”

During the time for public comment, two Marquette residents spoke up in support of Ray and Klipp while one voiced her stance with Brumm.

Marquette resident Jennifer Figgler pointed out that in her recall petition, Brumm identifies the Redmen and Redette names as being nicknames of Marquette Senior High School while they are actually “nicknames of the high school’s scholastics and sports teams. The high school itself does not have a nickname as stated in the petition.”

During her period for commission member comment, Talsma agreed with Figgler’s observation.

Despite the efforts made to justify Klipp’s and Ray’s actions and position, the commission ultimately couldn’t factor Klipp’s words into the decision.

As Hill said at the beginning of the meeting, “The recall commission does not determine the truth of the allegations. Allegations of fact may be true or false and the commission doesn’t have the structure or the resource or the procedural authority to investigate.”

The petitions stated, “Trustee(s) Klipp (and Ray) voted to remove the Redmen and Redette nickname from Marquette Senior High School.”

Brumm may now move on to the next phase of the recall process: signatures.

To get the Klipp and Ray recall on the ballot in November, Brumm must collect 3,692 signatures.

According to Talsma, this number was determined since it is “equal to 25% of the vote cast in the district of the total vote cast for all governor candidates in the last election in which a governor was elected.”

Brumm must collect the total signatures from the following municipalities: Chocolay Township, Marquette city, Marquette Township and Sands Township.

During board comment, Talsma also said, “As the person who is behind the elections in Marquette County, it always saddens me when this happens. Boards are put together with people with many opinions. That’s what makes democracy work. … But my concern is the more of these recalls that (keep being) brought, less people will want to come forward and be members of boards. And that saddens me because I see the filings come through my office. There’s not many right now for MAPS schools. … Even though if these ladies do get recalled, their names still go on the (general election) ballot.”

Additionally, in a related hearing held after the vote, a recall petition submitted against Brumm by Marquette resident Nathan Joyal was unanimously rejected due to unclear language. Joyal submitted his petition in response to Brumm’s repeated attempts to foil the board’s rebranding process.

It is unknown if Joyal will appeal the rejection.

Alexandria Bournonville can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 506. Her email address is abournonville@miningjournal.net


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