Plymouth Township Supervisor Richard Reaume admitted he committed a "campaign no-no" Friday morning when he removed signs for treasurer candidate Rita White from the lawn of Red Olive
Reaume, a Republican, said the business' lawn was replete with pro-Republican signage, but also had a handful of signs for White, a Democrat, as well as a sign urging "No" vote on Proposal 2 — a proposal endorsed by local Democratic groups.
Reaume said the owner of the business, which had granted Reaume and other Republican candidates permission to post yard signs on the lawn of the restaurant, told him he wasn't able to remove the signs himself. Reaume said the owner gave him the OK to remove the signs himself.
When Reaume discarded the signs in a nearby dumpster at about 10 a.m., however, it caught the eye of an off-duty Lower Huron Metropark police officer, who filmed the incident and relayed footage to White.
White said she called Reaume, who met her at the restaurant.
"I went dumpster diving," Reaume said, to retrieve and return the signs to the candidate.
White said she did not seek permission from the business owner before posting her signs, which Reaume said was needed in order to post signs in that spot.
"I didn't know I had to," White said.
Plymouth Township Clerk Joe Bridgman said if the sign had been on the north side of the sidewalk, it's county property and only Wayne County officials can remove improperly placed signs.
But, White said, her signs were on the south side of the sidewalk in front of the restaurant on private property.
Bridgman said in this instance, the property owner can remove the sign.
A candidate cannot, however, take another candidate's sign off of private property, Bridgman said.
Bridgman, a Republican whose own reelection bid was opposed by Reaume during the primary election cycle, took bigger issue with the timing of the sign removal, which was during township business hours.
"Why wasn't (Reaume) working instead of picking up signs?" Bridgman said.
Reaume said he had taken the morning off and was not on the clock at the time the signs were removed.
Bridgman lost in the Republican primary to challenger Nancy Conzelman.
White acknowledged Reaume offered an apology, but said she would have appreciated a phone call instead of Reaume discarding her signs.
"He could have called," she said. "He has my number."
Reaume is seeking reelection as township supervisor against independent Richard Sharland, and White is running for township treasurer against incumbent Republican Ron Edwards.
A message was left Friday with Red Olive seeking comment from its owners.
This story was updated at 8 p.m. to add additional comment from Richard Reaume indicating he was not on the clock when the incident occurred. It was updated again on Oct. 29 after Reaume added it was a "No" on Proposal 2 sign he had moved.