Petitions aim to recall Jackson Vice Mayor over LGBT ordinance support

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) -- More political drama is unfolding in Jackson.

Recall efforts are getting started after the Jackson County Election Commission approved petition language aimed at recalling Vice Mayor Derek Dobies.

Like a lot of issues coming up in Jackson lately, it all has to do with the controversial LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.

In February, the Jackson City Council voted 5-2 to approve the ordinance, which protects sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, public accommodation, and housing.

Petitioners want Dobies recalled because he voted for the NDO multiple times.

"I think it's politics as usual by the old guard, out of touch establishment," said Dobies.

Tuesday afternoon, three petitions were approved to recall Dobies, who serves as vice mayor and sixth ward councilman.

They cite his support of the non-discrimination ordinance, Kibby Road reconstruction, and plan to replace the city clerk with the city manager.

Sixth ward resident Roger Roty submitted the petitions.

"I am not against lesbians or gays. I am against what the ordinance says. I think they should have had more people involved from different organizations to help write the thing," Roty said.

With the county approving the petitions, petitioners now have 180 days to collect 495 signatures from registered voters in the sixth ward.

However, once a petition is started, it must be filled with signatures within 60 days.

Dobies believes voters will continue to support him and the NDO.

"They support the intent of building a more tolerant, inclusive community," Dobies said.

If those signatures are verified by officials, Dobies could be on the November ballot twice.

He would be on the ballot to defend his council seat and for his candidacy for mayor of Jackson.

Dobies filed to run for mayor a few days before petitioners filed their intention to recall him.

Roty wouldn't say what the opposition's overall strategy is with recalling Dobies.

He says they just think he should be removed from office for supporting the NDO.

"An issue like this, it should have gone to a vote of the people," Roty said.

Dobies says he plans on filing an appeal in court.

"I am fearless. I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get to work and fight for a better and brighter Jackson," Dobies said.

Dobies now has 10 days to file an appeal.

A decision must come from the circuit court within 40 days.

Four other city council members voted for the non-discrimination ordinance.

None of them are the target of recalls right now; however two of them are facing other candidates in reelection bids.

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