Anson residents will weigh in next month on a proposal to change the tax collector’s position from elective to appointive, as well as a proposed recall ordinance.
A public hearing on the two items is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at Garret Schenck Elementary School. Both items also will go to a public vote in a November referendum.
The Board of Selectmen voted in July to hold a special town meeting to discuss making the tax collector position an appointive one, and Board of Selectmen Chairman Arnold Luce said Wednesday that the public hearing and referendum will take the place of the special town meeting.
The consideration is unrelated to accusations the town has made against Tax Collector Claudia Viles in a lawsuit claiming that she misappropriated $438,712 in town money, he said. Viles has been the town’s elected tax collector for 42 years and still is working despite the investigation into the missing money, which disappeared between 2011 and last September, and the town’s lawsuit against her.
The town has no ordinance that spells out how to recall an elected official.
“There’s a sense from a lot of us that the job should be appointed rather than elected,” he said. “I think that was going to happen anyway.”
Luce said the proposed recall ordinance “may have sprouted out of” the accusations against Viles.
“There were some citizens that asked that we have a recall ordinance, and there’s really no good reason not to have one, to have it in place in case something in the future happens,” Luce said.
Under state law, the removal of elected municipal officials is possible only if there is a town recall ordinance or if an official has been convicted of a crime against the town during his or her time in office.
The board drafted the proposed ordinance, which would put in place a process for the recall of any town official except school board members.
It states that the recall must be initiated by a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the number of voters who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election and that such a petition can’t be submitted within the first 90 days the official is in office.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368