CHASSELL - A concerned Chassell resident has filed a complaint with the Chassell Township clerk alleging a local school board member serves on a board unlawfully.
Paperwork filed with Chassell Township Clerk June Michaelson in late January alleges Chassell Township Schools Board member Douglas Hamar is not eligible to serve on the board due to his residency.
An individual is eligible for election as a school board member if that person is a citizen of the United States and is a qualified and registered elector of the school district, said Terry LaJeunesse, Uniserv director with the Michigan Education Association.
Hamar, who has served on the board for several years as a member and president, owns property in Hancock and Chassell.
However, LaJeunesse said board members are only eligible to serve if their residence is considered their primary home.
"It's pretty common knowledge," LaJeunesse said. "He uses his Hancock address for everything that he does. I sent him a registered letter to his Hancock address and his wife signed for it."
According to the Michigan Election Law Act 16 of 1954, Section 168.11, a "residence" is defined as a place at which a person habitually sleeps, keeps his or her personal effects and has a regular place of lodging. This "residence" is used in this act for registration and voting purposes as well. As stated in the act, "If a person has more than one residence, or is a wife with a residence separate from that of the husband, that place at which this person resides the greater part of the time shall be his or her official residence for the purposes of this act."
Furthermore, a qualified elector is a person who possess the qualifications of an elector and who has resided in the city or township for 30 days.
LaJeunesse claims Hamar's primary address is in Hancock.
"The clerk sent him a notification of the complaint to his Chassell address and it came back returned," he said.
The letter from the Chassell resident, addressed to the Chassell Township clerk states, "For many years Mr. Douglas Hamar has claimed that he is a resident of Chassell Township and therefore is eligible to be a member of the Chassell Township School Board. Mr. Hamar's claim is a false one."
The concerned citizen stated, although there is no malice against Hamar, it's not fair that some board members cannot serve if they move out of Chassell.
Several calls were made to reach Hamar. Hamar, who returned calls Friday, is out of town and said he could not comment immediately. Friday, board president Chris Holmes said he was unaware of the complaint and therefore could not comment.
An attempt to view the complaint was denied by the Chassell Township clerk.
"If he ignores it, he, from my opinion, would be willfully disobeying the law," LaJeunesse said of Hamar. "The law is pretty black and white as far as I read it. I'm not an expert on the law, but to the best of my knowledge, this is how it goes."