Recall campaign launched after officials in Michigan county used COVID-19 money for bonuses

Three elected officials who voted to award themselves bonuses with federal COVID-19 money are facing a recall campaign in Shiawassee County.

The county election commission approved petition language Tuesday, The Argus-Press reported.

Read More: Officials used COVID-19 money for bonuses

If the petition survives an appeal after 10 days, recall supporters plan to start collecting signatures to force an election in 2022, roughly 1,100 for each of the targeted county commissioners: Jeremy Root, Cindy Garber and John Plowman.

The petition language says the three committed "malfeasance for knowingly doing wrong against the people," among other reasons.

After much controversy and a legal opinion from the county prosecutor, commissioners in July decided to return the "hazard pay." Root got $25,000, Plowman received $10,000 and Garber got $5,000.

Related: Official that gave himself $25K bonus from Covid relief fund resigns as chairman

The bonuses were approved as part of a plan to distribute $557,000 in federal virus relief to county rank-and-file workers and elected officials. A judge subsequently ordered the county to claw back payments of more than $5,000, citing likely violations of an open meetings law.

Root, Garber and Plowman did not attend the meeting of the local election commission, although Plowman was represented by his son.

"Vague points, not factual, not concise, not clear. … That’s why the petition should not be granted," Michael Plowman said.