Litchfield residents will vote Tuesday on whether to recall Selectman Tim Lachapelle, a property developer who first won election to the Select Board in a narrow, three-way race last spring, but whose confrontational approach, accusations about town employees and absence from recent meetings have turned off some voters.

The recall election will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Litchfield Town Office.

The town did not have a mechanism for recalling elected officials for reasons other than criminal activity until the fall, when local voters petitioned for and approved a new recall ordinance. In late October, citizens submitted another petition seeking to recall Lachapelle that received 213 certified signatures.

On Dec. 5, about 40 residents attended a public hearing to discuss the recall — a step that is required under the new ordinance — but Lachapelle did not attend. He also declined to comment for this article.

At that public hearing, a number of people expressed their frustrations with the first-term selectman, while also defending town employees whom he has accused of improper conduct.

“He has refused to participate, he’s got a job, he’s getting paid, but he’s not here,” Selectman George Thomson said during the hearing. “The town’s business must be conducted, and we can’t do that job if Mr. Lachapelle refuses to participate. All these things he said, I checked up on. I want to assuage any anxiety people may have about malfeasance. We’re not in cahoots. If he’s so concerned about people getting paid and not doing the work, where the heck is he?”

At the public hearing, another resident, Dori Upham, said she voted for Lachapelle because she thought he had some good ideas, but was later turned off by his contentious attitude and “potentially libelous accusations.”

Lachapelle has previously accused town employees of stealing and not working their full hours for the town, questioned the legality of the hiring of the town manager’s husband to manage the transfer station, and filed numerous Freedom of Access Act requests with the town, sometimes as many as 10 in a single day, according to Town Manager Trudy Lamoreau. Lamoreau and others have said there is no merit to the accusations.

Litchfield selectmen make a flat salary of $2,000.

During an interview in October, Lachapelle said he would not attend selectmen’s meetings until the outcome of the recall vote is clear, because he does not agree with the way the town is being run. He has also said that, should he be recalled, he will try to petition for the removal of other elected officials.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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