JAY — Selectpersons will decide at their next meeting Nov. 9 if they want to hold a special election or wait until the April 2021 town meeting to replace Selectperson Judy Diaz.

Jay Selectperson Judy Diaz plans to resign in November. Courtesy photo

Diaz, who is in the midst of her second term, said Monday that she plans to resign her position in November.

It looks like there are a couple of options, wait until April or hold a special election, Chairman Terry Bergeron said.  Budget talks are coming in January and February 2021, he said.

When there is a vacancy on the board of municipal officers, it can be filled by election only, according to information Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere provided the board from the Maine Municipal Association’s Municipal Officers Manual.

The election would need to be done by secret ballot at the polls, she said.

“There is no way to appoint a temporary municipal officer, or use an ‘assistant’ municipal officer,” according to the manual.

State law doesn’t require that a vacancy be filled at all or within any particular time. This is left to the discretion of the remaining municipal officers.

The board cannot appoint someone to fill the vacancy the way they do when a vacancy occurs on a school board, LaFreniere said.

If the board decides to fill the position, the person elected would serve the remainder of Diaz’s term, which expires June 30, 2022.

“We have looked at the election timeline, and, if the board decided to fill the position through the regular town meeting timeline, nomination papers would be available in mid-January” 2021, LaFreniere said. The papers would be due back in February and the election would be held in April.

If selectpersons want to fill the position sooner, there is an option for a shortened process which can take a minimum of 24 days, LaFreniere said. The nomination papers would be available for at least 10 days and would be due back at least 14 days before a special election.

In the shortened process, there is no opportunity for absentee ballots, LaFreniere said.

Board members discussed that it would be nice to have a full board during the budget process and to save money by not holding a special election.

“It is more logical to do it in April,” Diaz said.

“We’re going to miss you Judy,” Bergeron said.

Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo said he appreciated all of Diaz’ efforts.

” You made a lot of us think outside the box,” he said.

Bergeron reminded people that voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 in the gym at Spruce Mountain Middle School.


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