Litchfield residents voted 167-50 to recall Selectman Tim Lachapelle during Tuesday’s election, according to Lezley Sturtevant, the town’s deputy clerk.
That recall is effective immediately with the recording of the election results, according to an ordinance passed by voters in early October. State law now dictates that the two remaining selectmen must hold a town meeting to elect a replacement for Lachapelle.
The selectmen probably will determine at their Jan. 9 meeting a date to hold an election, said Mark Russell, chairman of the Select Board. That election might not be held until February, Russell said, because the town has to give candidates several weeks to submit their nomination papers.
Lachapelle said on Monday that he did not wish to make any further comments on the recall, and on Wednesday he did not respond immediately to a call from a reporter.
Last fall, Litchfield voters petitioned for and passed a new ordinance that allows for the recall of elected officials. Soon after that ordinance passed at a special town meeting, 213 residents signed a petition seeking the recall of Lachapelle, who was first elected during a close three-way race last June.
While running for selectman, Lachapelle pledged greater transparency by the town, and he has since filed a number of information requests to Town Manager Trudy Lamoreau under the state’s Freedom of Access Act.
Lachapelle has accused Lamoreau and other town officials of various types of inappropriate conduct. He has criticized the town’s hiring of Lamoreau’s husband to be the town’s transfer station manager. He also accused Code Enforcement Officer Steven Ochmanski of stealing from the town by overreporting his travel expenditures.
Lamoreau and Ochamanski have said there is no merit to the accusations, and other residents have defended the two employees. They also have expressed frustration about Lachapelle’s confrontational approach, the number of information requests he has filed and the fact that he hasn’t attended several recent selectmen’s meetings.
Charles Eichacker — 621-5642