Poland voters oust three selectmen

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POLAND — The five-member Board of Selectmen has been reduced to two following Thursday’s recall election.

Selectmen Jim Fernald, Larry Moreau and Wendy Sanborn were voted out of office by substantial margins. With a “yes” vote signifying the voter wanted a selectman removed, the results were: Fernald: 305 yes, 261 no; Moreau: 350 yes, 216 no; Sanborn: 360 yes, 201 no.

Calls for the removal of the three selectmen erupted following the board’s Oct. 16 decision to fire former Town Manager Rosemary Kulow. Following an executive session that night, Fernald, Moreau and Sanborn voted to terminate Kulow. Selectmen Steve Robinson and Lester Stevens voted against the measure.

Residents packed the Town Office meeting room at the board’s next meeting Nov. 7, calling for selectmen to reconsider their action. At that meeting, resident Arthur Berry held up a sign calling for a recall.

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Berry warned that unless selectmen backed off, he would carry the sign around as he gathered signatures calling for their removal.

The following weekend Berry and others collected 188 signatures of people calling for a recall on the main charge that selectmen had failed to follow the procedure for removal of a town manager as outlined in the Town Charter.

Commenting on the recall, Sanborn was accepting of the people’s vote.

“For nine years I worked hard for the Poland people,” she said. “We’ve had to deal with some difficult issues and we have the town on a solid financial footing. I don’t regret anything that I’ve done and now the town has to go forward — plenty to do.”

At the Dec. 18 public hearing on the recall petition, Town Manager Rosemary Roy, asked how the town could continue to operate if the recall election reduced the board to fewer than a legal quorum of three, said state law provides the structure for handling the situation, allowing the town to function until a special election can be held.

“The work of the town will continue,” Roy said. “Essential bills can be paid.”

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