May 22, 2013

West Gardiner recall petition to be heard Thursday

By Paul Koenig pkoenig@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WEST GARDINER — The selectmen will host a public hearing tonight on a proposed ordinance that would allow residents to recall elected officials.

The resident petition effort to enact the ordinance began two days after Earle McCormick defeated longtime selectman Victor Goodwin Sr., who held the seat for 44 years.

Residents can comment at the 6:30 p.m. public hearing to be held at the town office. The question will be voted on June 4.

The ordinance would allow residents to petition the town to hold a recall election for any elected official. To initiate a recall election, signatures on the petition must number at least 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the previous gubernatorial election.

The resident who took out the petition papers for the ordinance, Michael Peabody, gathered 183 certified signatures to put the question on the ballot.

Town clerk Heidi Peckham said Peabody contacted the town office March 25, the Monday after the March 23 municipal election.

She said she doesn't think the effort is because of any specific municipal official.

"It's just a protection for the town if something comes up is my understanding of it," Peckham said.

Peabody couldn't be reached for comment. None of the three selectmen returned calls for comment.

The town of Pittston recently used its own recall ordinance after the select board dismissed the longtime town clerk in March.

Residents gathered around 400 signatures calling for the removal of the three select board members within a week of their decision.

One select board member was defeated in the municipal election, another resigned as a result of the petition and the third was booted in a recall election.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
pkoenig@mainetoday.com

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