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Buchanan mayor says recall election makes city look like a "circus"

A white sign for Buchanan City Hall sits on the manila brick building of the same name. The sign has a light blue trim around it, with the text reading "Welcome to Buchanan, Life is better here" finish with the label of the building.
Michael Symonds
The recall is the latest development after the controversial suspension of former City Manager Ben Eldridge.

Buchanan Mayor Sean Denison will be on the ballot earlier than expected after signatures needed for a recall election against him were approved by Berrien County officials.

The recall petition needed 380 valid signatures to go forward. Organizers ended up collecting 532, although only 392 were verified.

The reason for the recall lies with former City Manager Ben Eldridge and his suspension last November, which organizers opposed.

But Denison said this suspension was justified after allegations were leaked to Eldridge regarding his own conduct, happened during an investigation into those allegations.

“I couldn't suspend everyone else in the city hall and keep someone there that had 42 allegations against them.”

Denison added that the recall only served to worsen the image of Buchanan, stressing that these individuals did not represent the whole city.

“I think that our community looks like a circus, even though there's really only a few clowns.”

The special election will be held on November 5, with the winning candidate finishing Denison’s term, which is set to end in November of 2026.

Denison said he fully expects to win.

"I don't see any way that I will be removed from office."

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.