EAGLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Opponents of the Eagle Township megasite in Clinton County are moving ahead with gathering signatures for their petition to recall township supervisor Patti Schafer over her handling of the Eagle Township development.
Cori Feldpausch is an opponent of the megasite which is also referred to as the “Michigan Manufacturing Innovation Campus” (MMIC). Feldpausch administers the “Stop the Megasite, Eagle, MI” Facebook page and has been an Eagle Township resident for 42 years. She says about the decision to start collecting signatures for the recall petitions, “It’s time to move forward and collect signatures, we need a change to ensure the residents of Eagle Township have a voice in future decisions.”
At issue is a development project which is mostly being looked at for a chip manufacturing plant. It’s a state initiative using the combined forces of LEAP (Lansing Economic Area Partnership), who is assembling the land needed for the project and MEDC (Michigan Economic Development Corporation) who is marketing and advertising for the project to become a reality.
A majority of the land, which is reported to be more than 1200 acres, is owned by Michigan State University through a donation. They have publicly said they can break the current lease with the current tenant who is farming the donated land from Dave Morris but have provided no public documents to date to Michigan News Source or any other media outlet to prove that they can break the lease and sell the property.
Michigan News Source recently reported that four other recall petitions had been voted down but that one of the earlier ones submitted to recall Patti Schafer is still active – and that is the one that the group is currently collecting signatures for even though the recall petition is being appealed by Schafer. Under the rules of Clinton County, it appears that the group is allowed to collect signatures because it’s been 40 days since the appeal was originally filed. They will need only 412 signatures on the petition, which is 25% of the amount of votes cast in their township for the gubernatorial candidates.
The Schafer recall petition was submitted by Troy Stroud and it says “In the spring of 2022, Eagle Township Supervisor Patti Schafer signed a non-disclosure agreement pertaining to the potential large-scale development of land in Eagle Township. This act limited the information available to Eagle Township residents affected by the potential development.”
According to Feldpausch, the recall group said that they started collecting signatures for the petition on Thursday, June 8th based on information they got from the Clinton County clerk, Debra A. Sutherland. He also said that the other active petition for township treasurer Kathy Oberg is in the appeal process and they have to wait to collect signatures on that one. Additionally, the group has also initiated a new recall petition for Oberg as well as one for trustee Dick Jones.
Stroud says about the petitions, “Collecting the signatures is an important part of the democratic process that will restore our faith in the system as these NDA’s have robbed us of our representation at all levels for quite a period of time. When your elected officials won’t talk to you about what’s happening in your area because of NDA’s then you’re robbed of representation.”
In Schafer’s appeal of the recall petition, her attorneys argued that the Clinton County Election Commission erred in approving the recall language for a variety of reasons. They said the vote to approve the language was not preceded by a motion to vote, violating the Open Meetings Act; that the recall language does not include the full story behind her conduct; and that the phrase “non-disclosure agreement” is too technical to be clear.
Clinton County argues that her propositions are not supported by law and that the Michigan law requires only that a county election commission review recall language for clarity so that both the elected official and the electorate are made aware of the charges against the official. They contend that is what the Clinton County Election Commission did.