No motion on vote: Trustee questions ZBA chairman’s removal

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Calumet Village Trustee Peggy Germain questioned the legality of Village President Dave Geisler’s actions in removing the zoning board of appeals chairman from office last month without following state law or state guidelines for such an action.

CALUMET — Trustee Peggy Germain told the Village Council on Tuesday that the council’s removal of Nathan Anderson from the Zoning Board of Appeals at its December meeting might have been made incorrectly, since no motion on the ordinance was made prior to the vote.

“On page two (of the regular monthly meeting minutes for Dec. 19), item number 4,” Germain said, “it says ‘no motion was required to remove Nathan Anderson from the Zoning Board of Appeals.’ And then there was a vote 4 to 2. But if you read the Zoning Board of Appeals Act, it shouldn’t have been here, and we shouldn’t have had anything to do with it, according to what I’ve read. But I’m not an attorney. I just question that we could do that with no motion.”

What Germain was referring to is the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, in Section 601, which states in part:

“A member of the zoning board of appeals may be removed by the legislative body for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance in office upon written charges and after a public hearing.”

Anderson was appointed chairman of the ZBA in September 2017 by Geisler was removed three months later on Dec. 19.

At that meeting, Geisler stated his reasons for his actions to the council, and called for a vote supporting his actions. Anderson was not given a copy of written charges, nor was he granted a public hearing.

Geisler dismissed Germain’s concerns, saying the action was taken with approval of village attorney Jim Tercha.