Judge throws out recall petition against 2 TCAPS board members, but likely to be re-filed

Jan 13, 2020

Matt Anderson was relieved after a circuit court judge tossed out the recall petition against him.
Credit Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Two members of the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education are safe from a recall election — for now. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer ruled Monday that a recall petition against them is invalid.

According to state law, officeholders can't be recalled during the first year of their term. The petition against Anderson and Forton was filed last November, nearly two months before they hit their one-year mark in office.

Both were relieved after court let out.

"I broke no laws, I have not lied, I broke no promises to Ann Cardon," Forton said after the ruling.

Although he tossed out the current petition, Elsenheimer did find that the language of the petition was legally sound. Junstin Van Rheneen, who helped write it with TCAPS Transparency, says that means they have options now that Anderson and Forton have been in office for more than a year.

"We will re-file now that the language ... is sufficient," Van Rheneen said. 

Matt Anderson and Pam Forton are on the hot seat over the resignation of former District Superintendent Ann Cardon. Anderson insists he and other board members did nothing wrong.

"I wasn't involved with any of the closed-door sessions or anything leading up to that so I actually don't even know why I'm here," Anderson said.

TCAPS Transparency is also trying to recall Board President Sue Kelly. She will have a similar hearing over her recall petition on February 3 in Leelanau County.