Recall appeal will not be decided locally

An appeal filed by a trio of Three Rivers Board of Education members currently in the process of being recalled won’t be fielded locally.
Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman on Wednesday issued a media advisory, stating he, along with judges Jeff Middleton and Rob Pattison, have disqualified themselves from hearing the appeal of the St. Joseph County Election Board’s June 26 decision.
The three-member board last month agreed the language of petitions to recall a trio of Three Rivers Board of Education members showed sufficient clarity in stating the reasons for the recall. As a result, the panel saw no reason to reject the petitions.
Stutesman said the matter will be referred to the State Court Administrative Office. To whom the case is assigned at the state level should be known by Friday, Stutesman said.
He said his daughter will be a senior at Three Rivers High School in the fall and Middleton is friends with the district’s board members, presenting a conflict of interest in both cases. Pattison, Stutesman said, doesn’t have time to field the matter within the 40-day time constraint.
School board members Waneta Truckey, Carl Barth and Mike Bosma on Monday – the final day for which the election board’s decision could be contested – formally filed their appeals.

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