PITTSTON – A split Board of Selectmen has set Feb. 22 for a public hearing on whether to ditch the town’s recall ordinance while a petition to recall one of the town’s three selectmen remains in limbo. 

Following that hearing, the selectmen will consider whether to change the ordinance already in effect or to eliminate it and follow the procedure outlined in state law.

Town residents at Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting had mixed reactions to the possibility of recalling the town’s ordinance. Some favored it, while others said they felt like the rules were changing because of the pending recall petition.

Louise Kruk urged the board to move on with the recall.

“It doesn’t sit right with me when people who voted for Joe (Caputo) signed this and now it feels like the rules are changing,” Kruk said. “You (the board of selectmen) need to crack the whip and get things done because it’s been an extremely long process and it makes you look bad.”

Caputo, who was elected nearly a year ago, is the target of a recall petition circulated by Cheryl Peaslee. Peaslee submitted the document to the board on Dec. 22, and on Wednesday, she called for an immediate motion to move the petition forward. 


Board members Caputo and Jane Hubert, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, voted to schedule the public hearing and Jean Ambrose voted against it. 

Under the town’s ordinance, selectman have 10 days to set a vote for a recall once a petition with the required number of certified signatures has been submitted.

But at issue is whether the signatures have been certified and meet the requirements of the ordinance, and whether the town’s ordinance, enacted in 2005, conflicts with the state’s 2011 law.

Hubert said town officials need legal input in order to move it forward. 

To clarify the differences, Hubert has contacted the town’s attorney and said Wednesday that she expected an answer by the end of the week. She has also received instructions from the Maine Municipal Association on how to rescind the town’s recall ordinance. 

Hubert said whatever she hears from the attorney will be shared with the Board of Selectmen first.


Hubert, who was on the Board of Selectmen when the ordinance was created in 2005,  called the Recall of Municipal Officers and Officials ordinance “faulty,” especially when compared to the more-recent state law, which has more guidelines. 

“This is now two issues,” Hubert said. “One part is the ordinance … and now that I look and see it, I find it faulty, and the other issue is the recall.” 

The key differences are the time frame in which it can be done and the reason for the recall. Maine’s law states that an elected official may be the subject of a recall only if that official is convicted of a crime committed during that person’s term in office and the municipality is the victim.

Hubert said at previous meetings the the intent of the town’s recall ordinance “was not to have opinion removal, but a factual endeavor,” which she said Peaslee did not give in connection with the petition she circulated to recall Caputo.

The state statute for the recall of municipal officers creates a timeline for the petitioner that puts a two-week limit on the amount of time to collect signatures. Within a week, the clerk must certify the signatures and within 10 days of certification, an election must be scheduled. 

If the town votes to rescind the ordinance, the state statue immediately goes into effect, unless the town votes to amend the town’s ordinance.

In the meantime, the Appeals Board was expected to review the ordinance at its Thursday meeting. 

The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m., in the Town Office at 38 Whitefield Road.

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