JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — A group in favor of the Jackson non-discrimination ordinance is looking at ways to challenge petitions that stopped it from taking effect.
But that’s not all that’s coming out.
This is happening as a city official admits to signing one of those petitions that put the NDO on hold.
In February, the Jackson City Council voted to adopt an ordinance that protects the LGBT community from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation.
Several weeks later, individuals and churches circulated petitions to stop the ordinance from taking effect and put the issue before voters in an election.
The city clerk’s office verified signatures on those petitions which then stopped the ordinance.
However, the fight continues.
“We’ll be asking the city council to consider throwing out the petitions,” said Rev. Cynthia Landrum, a member of the group Jackson Together.
Jackson Together helped assemble the ordinance, and now takes issue with how the petitions were collected and verified.
“We’ve contacted one of Michigan’s leading election lawyers who is reviewing it,” Landrum said.
The group believes the petitions and handling of the paperwork by the city clerk’s office violates the law.
“The city charter says I’ll collect them, I certify them, and I present them to the council. I don’t know where they’re coming from,” said City Clerk Andrew Wrozek.
But the clerk does admit to taking a personal interest in the petitions.
“Did I sign, yes,” Wrozek said. “There’s no rule against me signing petitions. I know most people stand that I should be neutral; well I am neutral when I do the voting, when I do this. I have the staff go through these, I didn’t check it out.”
Jackson Together is now questioning if the clerk’s involvement is a conflict of interest.
“I am not sure. It’s certainly a question that we’ll forward on to our lawyer, but at the moment I would say it’s probably within his legal right to sign a petition, but it’s something we’ll look into,” Landrum said.
Right now it’s too early to tell what kind of action the group will take going forward.
Next week, the city council could decide whether to scrap the ordinance all together or put this issue before voters in the August election.