Stanton mayor, 2 commissioners miss state election filing deadline


By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 2:17 pm on Friday, May 05, 2017

Stanton City Commissioner Karl Yoder, right, discusses the confusion for filing to run in the city’s election this year. Yoder’s position, along with two other commissioners and the mayor are up for election this year. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

STANTON — Between turnover on the Stanton City Commission and regular term limits, four out of six commissioner positions and the mayor’s seat will be on November’s ballot.

However, only Commissioner Charles “Chuck” Miel filed for re-election before the 4 p.m. April 25 deadline.

Mayor Ken Burris and commissioners Krista Johnson and Karl Yoder did not file on time.

“Ever since I’ve been here, the deadline has been 12 Tuesdays before the (Aug. 8) primary,” Burris said. “The county says nominations close (April 25). The charter says it closed … May 16. That’s they way it’s always been done since I’ve been here. I’m not saying it’s right, but there is a conflict with the county.”

According to Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard, Michigan’s filing law was changed in 2014 to make cities comply with state filing deadlines. Stanton’s later filing date laid in its city charter no longer superseded state law.

Millard said she met with Stanton City Manger Elizabeth Pynaert and City Clerk/Treasurer Lori Braman and they were all in agreement about the filing deadline.

“I advised our clerk/treasurer to go and speak with Kris Millard about the filing deadlines,” Pynaert said. “At the time when Karl Yoder first asked for the petitions, Lori Braman hadn’t gone through the accreditation for elections yet.”

Pynaert said Millard was helping the city out by informing them about state laws.

“I’m very thankful that we have her (Millard) as a resource,” Pynaert said.

The mayor’s seat, which Burris took over on Feb 14, will expire as a partial term on Dec. 31, 2018. Because former mayor Larry Petersen resigned in the first half of his term, the mayor’s position must be on the ballot this November to fill the remainder of the unexpired term.

Johnson and Yoder are up for re-election as their two-year terms expire Dec. 31.

Miel was appointed to the City Commission to replace Lewis Corwin, who resigned last December. As an appointed commissioner, Miel will be on this year’s ballot for a partial term expiring in 2018.

The seat of Commissioner Jennifer Blum, who was appointed March 16 and took the oath of office March 30, doesn’t expire until Dec. 31, 2018; however, because Blum was appointed to Burris’ term, the position must also be on this year’s ballot to fill the remainder of the unexpired term. Blum has not filed for re-election.

“It’s a law if there’s a vacancy that occurs within the first half of the officer term, the person that is appointed must run in the next election,” Millard told The Daily News.

Stanton officials are having an attorney review the election filing information, and Pynaert expects to have an update by Tuesday’s City Commission meeting.

With the seats of three commissioner and the mayor up for election, Miel will be the only candidate listed on the ballot. Other candidates will have to run as write-in candidates. The deadline to file as a write-in is 4 p.m. Oct. 24.

“If we really want citizen participation, these deadlines should be announced ahead of time,” Yoder said. “This whole process — I understand we had reorganization and it was partly my problem — I think it ought to be more publicly stated. And the procedures, even just shortly describe the procedure on how to run.”

Information about how to run for any municipal position in Michigan can be found at www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/PrepCirFilePetPublicOffice_483402_7.pdf or by contacting your local clerk.

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