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About Jackson Recall



The fact that you are at this page means you care about the direction our city is going and wondering who you should vote for to bring about needed change.. Whether you agree or disagree with what I say...I am glad you care enough about City of Jackson to visit to see what I am about

My name is Susan Murdie and I care about our City of Jackson


If I had won the last election for City Council, I would have voted very differently from the majority of the current City Council members and particularly, my opponent in the 5th ward race on most issues.

I believe what drives people to come downtown is exciting places to see entertainment, shopping, and restaurants. I have lived in a loft downtown for 15 years, I owned a 15000 sq ft building for eight years, I sold clothing from my own boutique clothing store downtown for two years, and I have continued to shop and eat downtown for over 20 years. I have had extensive training in revitalizing downtowns and our historic theater.

The WORST way to revitalize a downtown is what this City Council has approved, the Corporate Welfare giveaways, new streetscapes, parking lots, the unused food truck alley, the many parks and long closures of our major streets.


The unused food truck alley is a perfect example of the mindless regulation proposed by Burtch and put in place by the council. After spending hundreds of thousands of extra dollars on the food truck alley and supporting infrastructure, an ordinance was passed to regulate this activity. The registration fee was $100.00 and a food truck could only use the spot once per month. To date, no one has paid the fee and used the spaces.

Excellent planning by city officials that went unquestioned by the council persons who voted for this waste.


This current city council has facilitated the demolition of 700 homes with our precious tax dollars(local and federal) that would have brought in more people that would pay personal and property taxes if they were rehabilitated.


Instead these City Councilmembers continue to vote to waste our tax dollars on well heeled developers and creating vacant lots. Instead of investing into more public safety, fighting poverty and making vacant homes available to the public for purchase, the subsidize developers which increases their bottom line. As all of your know this City Council has ignored street maintenance and care which has resulted in 85% of poor to bad roads throughout this city.


I can't tell you how many times I hear, “I WOULD NEVER LIVE IN THE CITY OF JACKSON”. People tell me they would be afraid because of the all of the crime and shootings. Just this past week in downtown we had a hold up robber and a shooting at Abbey Villa Apartments, both are a mere four minute walk from from downtown. This City council has done absolutely nothing to fight crime or the addiction problems that plague our community. The City of Jackson is the third most dangerous city in the state of Michigan and 40% of our residents currently live in poverty.


Not wanting to live or purchase a home in this city has nothing to do with the population decline over 50 years, nor does it have anything to do with a “bad perception” that some council persons blame on the citizens feel about Jackson, but it has everything to do with the hopelessness, poverty, blighted streets and clogged gutters, and crime we experience living in our neighborhoods in Jackson and the bad misguided direction this current City council is heading!


It's time for a change. Our residents must stand up and fight for our city. Our neighborhoods, crime rate and poverty need to be addressed...please friends, start holding these council people accountable for making Jackson a better place for us citizens to live. We don't need new and pretty white sidewalks downtown, we need to take care of what we already have.


A recent poll of Jackson area employees by the Anchor Initiative suggest that corruption at City Hall is a primary reason people cite for disliking Jackson, and I completely agree.


Just this Tuesday the City Council agenda added an item to be voted only 24 hours before the meeting. There are 79 pages to the council packet and it was sent to us on Friday at 4pm. This means that we were only given 48 hour work day notice of what was going to be voted on. This is unacceptable, we need a “study session” two weeks before every council meeting just like the Jackson County Commission has and other cities around the state. Burtch opposes this because he wants absolute control over every aspect of the governing process here in Jackson.


The Prater embezzlement was not handled well and made a lot of citizens question the transparency and ethics of our local government.

Since Patrick Burtch took over as city manager, he has done away with written performance evaluations to strictly control the various departments. Sheila Prater received a pseudo-evaluation from Burtch in 2013. It was a letter saying what a wonderful employee she was and should have a raise. She got a huge raise and promotion all the while embezzling thousands of dollars from the city.

The current council has allowed Burtch to run roughshod over city requirements for hiring and evaluating employees. The next council must bring Burtch under control.

There needs to be an outside investigation of the embezzlement and how it was handled at City Hall. And who was responsible for the lax enforcement of good practices which allowed this to happen.


City Council violates the open meetings act with frequency. They misuse the Closed Sessions by not revealing what they are voting on after the session. We need representation that is fully transparent, with not a hint of corruption or dark money that two of these Council people, Greer and Frounfelker have used for this election.


The city is carrying a huge debt burden due to the agreements made by earlier councils to "keep" Consumers Energy downtown. We owe $18.5 million for the parking structures we built for C.E.. The parking space rent that C.E. employees pay covers only about $250,000 of the almost $800,000 yearly cost. The DDA Tax Increment Funding Area was supposed to attract new businesses whose taxes would go to retire this debt. Has not happened. We pay for it with out property taxes. This is the same philosophy guiding the current efforts to attract developers to the downtown with massive tax abatement's and other subsidies.

If I am elected I will start by pushing for a renegotiation with CE whereby they would take over the debt and operations of "their" parking structures.

Other areas of significant debt include massive unfunded retirement and retiree health benefit funds.

Double dipping by city retirees where they retire and are immediately hired on in the same or other city jobs at the whim of Burtch and without a proper performance evaluation history must stop. No more patronism at city hall.

Now that you have an idea of what I stand for and what I will try to address if elected, please give serious consideration to casting your vote for me.


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