MINOT — A Regional School Unit 16 school bus driver who was fired for making racist and sexist comments cannot be removed from the school board seat to which he was newly elected.

Mike Downing was elected to represent Minot on the RSU 16 school board on March 2. A write-in candidate, he won the open seat with 31 votes, but his firing – and the reason for it – wasn’t made public until after the election.

A number of residents have since approached both the town and RSU 16 about recalling Downing.

Superintendent Tina Meserve has said there’s nothing the school system or school board can do because Downing’s election fell under the town’s authority.

The Minot Board of Selectmen said Monday that there is nothing the town can do because Minot’s recall ordinance addresses municipal officers only, not school board members.

Minot could amend its ordinance, but such an amendment would have to be done at a town meeting.

Town Administrator Arlan Saunders told selectmen Monday night that he’d talked with private lawyers and one from the Maine Municipal Association, and they all agree that the town’s ordinance provides no way to recall Downing.

“There is something that the town can do,” Saunders told the selectmen, “but it’s going to take a while.”

“That doesn’t solve this issue,” Selectman Lisa Cesare said. “It protects us going forward.”

Downing, 68, admits he has made offensive comments over the years, including in recent months, using a racial slur in reference to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and referring to Meserve and school board Chairwoman Mary Martin with a sexual expletive. However, Downing believes he should not have lost his job over his comments.

He was fired Jan. 22, after 45 years with the school system.

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