PERU — Selectmen on Monday evening set a recall election for two of its members amid questions about the legality of both recall petitions.

Voters will decide Nov. 18 whether to remove Chairwoman Wendy Henderson and Vice Chairman John Witherell from office.

A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at a location to be determined. Henderson and Witherell will have a chance to address voters.

The two petitions presented to the board Oct. 6 claimed Henderson and Witherell have failed to represent the will of the town and to vote accordingly. The petitions were certified by the town clerk Oct. 10.

Selectman Carol Roach at Monday evening’s meeting went over the recall ordinance to assess the validity of the petitions and the duties of the other selectmen, and said everything was in order.

Attorney Amanda Meader of Skelton, Taintor and Abbott of Auburn said the petition signatures were valid and the process was legal.

However, some residents disagreed with her, including some who signed the documents.

Valerie Taylor said she had been asked to sign the petition in July, yet it was dated Aug. 25. She also said David Vance, who signed the witness line on the petition, wasn’t present at the time of signing, and that she had been told she may need to re-sign because her first signature did not meet requirements.

Meader said signatures don’t need to be witnessed, and she didn’t seem concerned with the timeline of the signing.

“We never recommend towns adopt recall petitions because they’re ugly, and they’re mean, and they come to no good, but here we are because your town did this, and there’s no way out of it,” Meader said.

Kevin Taylor, after hearing that selectmen have the right to call for a special town meeting to amend the recall ordinance, asked the board to call such a meeting so the law could be abolished and the recall process halted.

“That wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Selectman Larry Snowman said.

The board decided to hold the recall election, after getting legal advice from the town attorney and the Maine Municipal Association, Roach said.

Resident Dawna Kazregis asked Fire Chief Bill Hussey, one of the three who initiated the petitions, why he didn’t take his concerns to the board.

Roach said at board meetings residents must direct questions to the board, not other residents.

At the end of the meeting, the board held an executive session to consult with Meader on its legal rights and duties with respect to the recall.

[email protected]

PULLQUOTE: “We never recommend towns adopt recall petitions because they’re ugly, and they’re mean, and they come to no good, but here we are because your town did this, and there’s no way out of it.” — Attorney Amanda Meader.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: