PERU — Selectmen will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Dirigo Elementary School on two petitions seeking to remove Selectmen Wendy Henderson and John Witherell from office.

Voters will cast ballots on the issue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 18 at the town hall.

Witherell requested that no petition signers be allowed to serve as ballot clerks. The board granted his request.

The hearing will be moderated by attorney Amanda Meader, who was at last week’s meeting to provide legal advice to the other board members, Carol Roach, Raquel Welch and Larry Snowman, regarding their duties and responses to the petition.

Meader will meet with the board members before the hearing to plan for and orderly hearing.

“We intend to have a meeting that is both civil and respectful,” Roach said. 

“Unfortunately, that’s not the way I think it’s going to go,” resident Kevin Taylor said.

“Well anyone who isn’t respectful will be asked to leave; we’re not going to put up with it,” Snowman said.

Secretary to the Selectmen Stephanie Woods spoke with the Oxford County Sherriff’s Office to advise of the hearing, and deputies will patrol the area and assist if needed.

Residents at Monday night’s meeting asked how much the recall process is costing the town and if signers of the petitions are well informed.

Resident Gail Belyea, who has attended every selectmen meeting for the past six months, said that out of the 107 people who signed the petitions, only 13 have ever attended meetings, some only once. 

At the request of Belyea, Roach will bring to the hearing a rough estimate of what the attempted recall is costing the town.

“Between the cost of the attorney to attend last week’s meeting and to moderate the hearing, and the ballot clerks, I can tell you the cost is substantial,” Roach said.  All expenses related to the potential recall will come out of the town’s election budget.

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