WEST GARDINER — An ordinance that would allow residents to recall elected officials failed at the polls on Tuesday.

Voters rejected the recall ordinance 68 for and 112 against.

The resident who petitioned to have the issue on the ballot, Michael Peacock, said bad timing led to its defeat because people thought the ordinance was targeting a newly elected selectman.

The effort to enact the ordinance began two days after Earle McCormick defeated longtime selectman Victor Goodwin Sr., who held the seat for 44 years.

Peacock said the petition wasn’t an effort to replace any official and he hopes a recall ordinance won’t ever be necessary.

“For me it was a no-brainer. It was just an insurance policy for the town,” he said.

Peacock said he plans to petition to put the question on next year’s annual Town Meeting warrant in March.

The ordinance would have allowed residents to initiate a recall election if petitioners gathered signatures totaling at least 10 percent of the number of votes cast in town at the last gubernatorial election.

State law only allows towns to initiate a recall of an elected official if he or she is convicted of a crime against the municipality during his or her tenure.

Municipalities are allowed to enact their own ordinance like the one on Tuesday’s ballot.

The town of Pittston, for example, recently used its own recall ordinance after the select board dismissed the longtime town clerk in March. One select board member was defeated in the municipal election, another resigned as a result of the petition, and the third was booted in a recall election.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
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