The St. Joseph County Election Commission discusses the two recall petitions against White Pigeon Township Supervisor Don Gloy and White Pigeon Township Treasurer Trudy Gloy during a clarity/factuality hearing Thursday. (COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON)
By Robert Tomlinson
CENTREVILLE — Petition language for two White Pigeon Township board members were approved by the St. Joseph County Election Commission Thursday, with three more still to come later this month.
In Thursday’s clarity/factuality hearing, held at the county commission room in the county’s Historic Courthouse, the three-member Election Commission approved the language for possible recalls against White Pigeon Township’s supervisor, Don Gloy, and the township’s treasurer, Trudy Gloy.
With the language approval, the people behind the recall effort, which includes the main petitioner, White Pigeon Township resident Anita Casada, will have until Friday, Aug. 4 to collect the necessary 379 signatures to place the recalls on the Nov. 7 ballot.
With commissioner and probate judge David Tomlinson absent Thursday, Prosecutor David Marvin filled in as chair alongside County Clerk Lindsay Oswald and County Treasurer Kathy Humphreys on the Election Commission.
Recall language against Don Gloy states the reasoning for the recall as failing to take advantage of requesting funding from the county’s $1 million allocation of American Rescue Plan funding, which went to all 31 different organizations that requested funding, which included 11 different governmental entities in the county.
Those 11, as previously reported in October by the Commercial-News, were the City of Three Rivers, City of Sturgis, Burr Oak Township, Florence Township, Flowerfield Township, Mendon Township, Mottville Township, Nottawa Township, Park Township, Sturgis Township, and the Village of Centreville.
The recall language for Trudy Gloy was mainly concerned with what Casada described as “ethics.” The language claims Trudy Gloy, at an Aug. 3, 2022 board meeting, voted to approve a township ordinance, known as Ordinance 97, to allow for construction of residential storage buildings on properties, a type of construction prohibited prior to the vote. Following the vote, according to the petition, a building permit was issued on a vacant lot Trudy Gloy had allegedly purchased a week prior, and construction of a storage building was started on that property.
Thursday’s hearing was the second attempt at recalls of both Gloys, as the Election Commission rejected petitions due to a lack of clarity back on June 27.
In his opening statement, Marvin clarified that the commission is not designed to be a “determiner of truth,” but rather in place to determine if the reason for the recall is “of sufficient clarity and factual in nature.”
In a statement to the board on both of the petitions, White Pigeon Township Attorney Lance Thornton said the reason for the township board to not go for the ARP funding from the county was because of “insufficient information provided on the reporting requirements,” while in the case of Trudy Gloy’s petition, he said that “numerous township residents” requested the modification in zoning for storage buildings after the township’s planning commission and the county’s planning commission recommended its approval and said it “conformed to best practices.”
“Anyone who knows Trudy Gloy or has worked with her knows she’s an extremely ethical person with integrity,” Thornton said. “We invite the public to compare Trudy Gloy’s ethics, integrity, community standing and public service with that of the few persons behind these recall petitions.”
Thornton called the recall efforts a “tremendous waste of money,” but encouraged the election commission to let the process play out and approve the petitions, “regardless of flaws in the petitions.”
“So that those few recall supporters can proceed with their quest to try and thwart the will of the White Pigeon Township voters who have repeatedly voted for and placed their trust in Don and Trudy Gloy,” Thornton said. “This recall process is a tremendous waste of money, collected from White Pigeon Township taxpayers, that could be better used to purchase fire and rescue equipment.”
Casada, in her statement to the board on Don Gloy’s recall petition, claimed the supervisor said the reason for not going for ARPA funds was because the “rules were too stringent, too much reporting, so we did not reply,” a reason that she personally found insufficient.
“I don’t consider the reasons sufficient enough that you would give away a minimum of $15,000 that you could use for your fire department for equipment, and some units of government got almost $40,000,” Casada said. “It would’ve been helpful to the revenue to support the budget in White Pigeon Township.”
As for Trudy Gloy’s petition, Casada said the situation surrounding the ordinance, which according to the minutes of the Aug. 3 meeting was approved unanimously by the board, was “a question of ethics.”
“It’s a question of ethics to take an ordinance, sponsor an ordinance and vote on an ordinance that allows you to do something that was prohibited before,” Casada said. “We’re not here for the question of if she’s a good person or not, it shouldn’t have happened.”
The language on Don Gloy’s recall petition was approved 3-0 and Trudy Gloy’s approved 2-1, with Oswald dissenting. Oswald said she dissented because while she believed the language was of factual nature, she thought the word “ethics” in the language needed further explanation and clarity.
Three more recall petitions, against trustees Vince Schroen and Jean Tefft and clerk Lacie Pletcher, will be considered by the Election Commission on Wednesday, July 26 at 9 a.m. in Courtroom B of the St. Joseph County Courthouse.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.