NEW GLOUCESTER — A citizen-initiated petition’s ordinance for the recall of elected officials passed with an overwhelming two-to-one supermajority at the annual town meeting in New Gloucester on Monday.

The more than 200 people attending were led by moderator Attorney Gary Wood of Portland through the 28-article warrant that included two competing ordinances to recall elected officials, one from a citizen group’s petition that garnered more than 300 signatures and one from a selectmen-appointed Ad Hoc Recall Committee.

Wood offered his services at no cost to the town. He has served for 33 years as moderator for the town of Durham.

Article 27, the citizen-initiated petition, passed 137 to 59 in a secret ballot vote.

Article 28, the selectmen appointed ordinance, failed by a tally of 47 to 131.

The articles were taken out of order due at the lengthy meeting. The start was delayed for a medical emergency.

Resident Kathleen Potter spoke about the merits of the citizen petition.

Potter said, “This is not to be a frivolous, as you must gather signatures form registered voters (300 based on 10 percent of the last gubernatorial election) of the community. The number of signatures required is significant so as to ensure that petitions being put forth aren’t in a moment of anger or on a mere whim.”

A 55 percent supermajority is required to remove an elected official from office.

In Article 28, the work of a selectmen-appointed Recall Committee, Jean (male) Couturier said a code of ethics passed by selectmen spells out what can and can’t be done. “Both ordinances have merits,” he said. That ordinance required a simple majority vote.

A typo in numbering in the citizen’s petition does not hamper its legality, according to the town attorney, Town Manager Paul First said, but it requires correction at another town meeting.

In other business, the town approved the purchase of a new ambulance to replace a loaner using approved funds and additional funds.

Citizens also approved reducing operations for the town by $5,000 to $366,919 based on the hiring of Town First as town manager to eliminate a search cost.

The Highway Department will be able to hire a full-time worker.

Voters approved reducing funds for solid waste by $5,000 with new tipping fee rate reductions by Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp.

After debate about the Planning Department’s funding request, voters approved the board’s recommendation to raise $153,431 for planning, code enforcement, environmental resources, water resources and Sabbathday Lake water testing.


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