I received a response from Cheryl McGinnis, the new CCS Board President. She said, "In no way does the Superintendent’s decision to remove someone from our facilities when they do not hold the proper facilities usage permit have anything to do with campaign finance act as referenced in your email."
I advised her that the issue was NOT that I believed that the superintendent's request to remove the Recall Snyder signature collectors from district property for not having a proper facilities usage permit had anything to do with the campaign finance act... It was not the answer to the subject of my complaint.
I advised her that the issue was that the superintendent DID know about the plan to have Recall Snyder petition distributors on district property in advance of the planned days for the petition signing and he used the district website's home page to actually advertise his disingenuous "disclaimer". The "disclaimer" stated, "Clarkston Community Schools is NOT endorsing nor has scheduled an event at Pine Knob Elementary School where the 'Oakland County Recall Rick Snyder' group is asking residents to sign their petition."
According to the The Clarkston News article, "Recall in Wrong Place", June 22, 2011, http://www.clarkstonnews.com/Articles-i-2011-06-22-242179.113121-sub-Recall-in-wrong-place.html :
- "The group made no action to reserve the spot. When asked on Friday about the petition signing, Rock said the district did not know about it."
- "We have no knowledge of this event," he said. "We have not been contacted by the event organizers. We did not give them permission to use our facilities. We do not endorse the event. We will not take a position on this recall."
- Dr. Rock also did not call for the Oakland County Sheriff's department to tell the Recall Snyder group they could not collect signatures on district property until Sunday, but he was interviewed by the Clarkston News on the Friday before that Sunday and the district website already had a disclaimer on the home page.
- He had an obligation to advise the group they could not collect signatures on district property and he apparently did not do that until complaints prompted him to do so on that Sunday, allowing the signature collectors to collect signatures on Friday and Saaturday.
- He should not have used district assets/systems (district website) to post what was basically an advertisement for the signature collection on the district website home page (the campaign finance act violation issue).
- He should not have told the Clarkston News that he did not know about the recall event prior to it happening, when the district website clearly showed the district was aware of the event prior to the event taking place.
Here is the Clarkston News Article:
Recall in wrong place (by Wendi Reardon, Clarkston News, June 22, 2011)
June 22, 2011 - Activists seeking to recall Gov. Rick Snyder count schools among their allies. But using school property in Clarkston crosses a line, officials say.
"I called the Oakland County Sheriff's Department this weekend," said Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock. "They came over and asked the group to leave."
Petitioners set up signs and a table at the Sashabaw Road school last Friday and Sunday, which is when Rock took action.
As of Tuesday morning, Pine Knob Elementary continues to be listed on www.FireRickSnyder.org as one of the sites where Michigan voters can go on June 25-26 to sign a petition to recall the governor.
According to district Bylaw 7510, "a facility reservation must be completed and approved for each event scheduled after the normal school day, weekends, days when school is not in session, holidays and during the summer months."
The group made no action to reserve the spot. When asked on Friday about the petition signing, Rock said the district did not know about it.
"We have no knowledge of this event," he said. "We have not been contacted by the event organizers. We did not give them permission to use our facilities. We do not endorse the event. We will not take a position on this recall."
But some residents thought differently.
"The recall announcement on the district's own website proves they are aware of the event, chose not to stop it, and didn't make the same demands that were required of us to set up on school property to collect recall signatures (of Independence Township Supervisor David Wagner)," said Michael Powell of Independence Township.
The recall-Snyder event was posted on Clarkston school district's home page as a disclaimer – "Clarkston Community Schools is NOT endorsing nor has scheduled an event at Pine Knob Elementary School where the 'Oakland County Recall Rick Snyder' group is asking residents to sign their petition."
During the petition drive to recall Wagner last year, activists collecting signatures at Clarkston Junior High School were turned away, and police were called.
That decision was based on Bylaw 9700, which prohibits use of school property for "promoting the interests of any nonschool agency or organization, public or private" without school board permission.
At the time, district officials said they would not allow any solicitating for signatures for a recall or any other political action on school property.
Concerned residents called The Clarkston News about what they felt was a double standard in the recall-Snyder case.
Rock, who was not yet superintendent at the time of the Wagner recall, said it was not.
"We applied the same standard to both situations," he said, and explained he directed his team to put the disclaimer on the website.
Board of Education Secretary Joan Patterson agreed.
"We need to be consistent with the rules," Patterson said. "If you can't do it for one, you can't do it for the other."