Township voters respond to board

CHASSELL – While the Chassell Township board gave reasons for its decision to re-cast a referendum, members in attendance were not convinced by explanations.

One of the reasons cited by supervisor Dave Mattson was the Portage Lake District Library board’s actions during negotiations going back to December, 2015. Referring to minutes from Portage Lake District Library meetings, Mattson questioned the motives of the PLDL.

Several audience members then asked if the Chassell board members were aware of the PLDL’s actions and motives before placing the referendum on the ballot in the August election.

“I honestly did not look at these minutes until after the primary election,” Mattson replied, “When one of the residents called me upset and said, ‘Dave! I could have told you this was going to happen in the primary if you saw the minutes from the library board. They requested the primary for a very specific reason.'”

In referring to an instance during the regular meeting in which audience members questioned the board’s reading the minutes of their own meetings, one audience member asked, “Much like you asked us to read the minutes before we came here, (the PLDL minutes) were written before August. But you just had Dillon (Geshel, PLDL director) read the information you didn’t know prior to that. If you would have read the minutes prior to that, you would have known all that before the August election.”

While the Chassell board focused on the library’s minutes, other audience members were more concerned with the board rejecting the August referendum after it had been voted on.

“I am proud to be an American,” Jo Murphy, Chassell resident, said. “It is my honor to come out and vote for people that I want to be elected to run my government, and that includes the local government, too. And when I heard about this, I felt like I was slapped in my face – that my vote does not count, because it’s not what you all wanted. And because of that, you just rescind a vote. Then you can do that with anything as a board, and that is against our rights as voters.”

Few others in the audience were convinced by the board’s explanation.

“Dave, I am demanding that you rescind this undemocratic action,” Becky Darling, Chassell resident said. “We voted. We won.”