Pierson village president ousted by write-in

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:17 am on Thursday, November 08, 2012

PIERSON — Karl Van Haren survived a recall, but a write-in candidate proved to be too much.

The president of the Pierson Village Council was ousted from office Tuesday. Van Haren received 19 votes compared to write-in challenger Marshall Dillon, who received 21 votes, according to unofficial results.

Dillon, 41, could not be reached for comment as he is currently hunting out of town. He is employed with the city of Grand Rapids in forestry and has previously served as a councilman on the Pierson Village Council.

Van Haren has six days following certification of voting results (which should be finished this week or next week) to request a recount at a cost of $10, according to Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard.

Tina Ladd, who filed as a write-in candidate for one of two four-year council positions, was elected with  10 votes.

Six people filed as write-in candidates for four two-year council positions. Tammy Patton received 12 votes, Gerald Meyer and Alan York each received 10 votes and Jeffery Patton receive eight votes to win.

Catrina Papke and Verna Smigiel each received five voters in their failed attempt to be elected.

A four-year council position remains open. The new village council will have to appoint someone to fill that position.

Van Haren survived a recall attempt by just three votes on May 8. That recall was initiated by then-councilwoman Rebecca Starr. Van Haren then initiated a recall against Starr, Smigiel and Duane Griffes, all councilmembers. Starr and Smigiel held onto their seats, but Griffes was recalled on Aug. 7.

Starr attempted to resign from the village council on June 5. However, the council was unable to accept her resignation due to the lack of a quorum and the fact that two councilmembers, Larry Atkin and Lucinda “Cindy” Keech, had recently resigned.

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