Joe Caputo holds up a card to vote during the annual Pittston Town Meeting in the Pittston Consolidated School on March 18. A resident is circulating a petition to remove Caputo from office over concerns about how Select Board meetings are run. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

PITTSTON – A Pittston resident is leading an effort to remove a selectman from office over concerns about how the town’s meetings are run.

Cheryl Peaslee believes the Select Board has ushered in a “change in atmosphere” from the “friendly” town her family has called home for five generations, according to a letter she circulated recently to other residents.  Peaslee’s sister, Jean Ambrose, is on the three-person Select Board.

Her two-page letter claims there is a “hostile” work environment in the Pittston Town Office, that the Select Board spends frivolously — though a majority vote is always required to approve spending — and that disagreements among the board’s members have prevented business from getting done.  

To solve the problems, she is seeking to recall the most recently elected selectman, Joe Caputo. Removing him from office would require the signatures of 153 residents, then a recall vote by the public.

Caputo has been outspoken about a number of town issues and has been especially critical of Pittston’s road commissioner, Sam Snow. Engineers recently reported that Snow oversaw poor construction work on Jewett Road and ordered low-quality materials that caused early deterioration and could cost millions to fix.


Caputo called the recall effort and Peaslee’s letter “disappointing” because of “many inaccuracies.”

“I am disappointed that my attempt to bring transparency and to hold town employees accountable and to high standards is troublesome to Ms. Peaslee,” he said. ” As I have said many times before, it is my goal to do what is best for the town of Pittston.”

Peaslee said she started collecting signatures Thursday at her workplace and organized an event to collect more later that evening. She said she had “a couple of signatures” Thursday afternoon but would not return phone calls Friday for an updated count.

Town Clerk Deb Barry  said Friday that Peaslee had not yet submitted a petition for certification. The town clerk is required to validate the signatures within 10 days of a recall petition being submitted to determine whether the effort qualifies for a secret ballot election. That includes making sure the people who signed the petition live in the town and that there are no duplicates. If the petition passes muster, it is presented to the two other Select Board members, who must then order a special election.

In an interview on Thursday, Peaslee said she is “pushing forward because she would like to have civil meetings in town.” 

Select Board Chair Jane Hubert would not comment on the letter but said the problems Peaslee mentioned can be solved with “better communication,” and that recalling Caputo is not productive. Hubert also noted that there were “several inaccuracies” in the letter Peaslee sent out. 


“There are inaccuracies in the letter, but to me, this isn’t the way to solve it,” Hubert said, declining to comment further on the matter.

The 153 signatures Peaslee must collect to advance the recall is equivalent to 10% of Pittston’s voter turnout from the last gubernatorial election in 2022, a threshold outlined in the town’s ordinance for recalling a municipal official.

Caputo is not the only local official who has been subjected to a recall effort in central Maine recently. Madison residents voted to remove Selectman Glen Mantor in March after critics said he let his personal feelings drive his decision to reject a request for a full-time code enforcement officer and instead fund other municipal positions.

Peaslee, who has worked as an election clerk in Pittston, was removed from that post in March because she openly campaigned for Select Board candidate Steve Costello, who was running against — and lost to — Caputo.

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