The Pittston Board of Selectmen has been considering the fate of the town’s recall ordinance after a petition to recall Selectman Joe Caputo was submitted in December. A special town meeting has been scheduled for residents to decide whether to scrap it. Screen capture via Zoom

PITTSTON — Residents in Pittston are expected to vote Thursday on the future of the town’s ordinance that is at the center of Selectman Joe Caputo’s recall. 

Residents are invited to voice their opinions at a special town meeting set for 6 p.m. at the Town Office to consider whether to rescind the town’s ordinance on the recall of municipal officers. A vote will follow the discussion.   

The ordinance has been the subject of discussion recent weeks after Caputo, who was elected a year ago, was targeted with a recall petition.  

Jane Hubert, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, made a motion at the board’s Feb. 7 meeting to set a special town meeting to consider rescinding the ordinance she helped draft in 2005 when she was on the board. The motion passed 2-1, with Hubert and Caputo in favor and Selectman Jean Ambrose against it.

Hubert said she believes if the ordinance is rescinded, the vote to recall Caputo will still take place because the petition was made under the ordinance that was in effect at the time the recall petition was submitted.

“It’s two issues — the recall and the ordinance,” she said to the Kennebec Journal on Tuesday. “We are concentrating on the ordinance. If it’s rescinded, then we work on a new ordinance but from what I understand, we still have the (recall) vote because the petition is active under an active ordinance.”


Hubert said her intent for the town’s recall ordinance at its creation in 2005 is more in line with the current state statute for the recall of municipal officers, which was last updated in 2011.  

The state statute says a municipal officer can face a recall only if convicted of a crime committed while in office and the municipality is the victim. Pittston’s ordinance does not have a clause about criminal actions. 

“My intent (when creating the ordinance) was to take out of office anyone who was elected that has done some illegal action, or work, that could be measured, such as embezzlement, while they were in office,” Hubert said Tuesday. “It wasn’t the general kind of misbehaving or nothing personal, but actually something that was measurable and illegal.” 

Caputo’s recall started in November when resident Cheryl Peaslee, Ambrose’s sister, circulated a petition to remove Caputo from the Pittston Board of Selectmen and cited Caputo as the reason behind a hostile work environment within the town office and for a change of atmosphere in the town. She submitted it in December. 

Hubert contacted the town’s attorney for guidance on the signatures and the recall — mainly around how to balance the differences between the state statute and the town ordinance. She received an answer last week and scheduled Caputo’s recall vote for March 18 after months of uncertainty. 

Hubert said she expects a large attendance at the special town meeting, considering the audience at recent board of selectmen meetings for which about 30 people have attended in person, with 15 more attending online via Zoom. 

“I remember the select board meetings years ago when it was just the three of us,” she said. “It’s good to have this participation and people offering their opinions and thoughts and people need to be informed.” 

The special town meeting will be held at the Town Office at 38 Whitefield Road. If the public hearing draws more than 210 residents, the capacity of the town office’s multipurpose room, the hearing will recess and relocate to Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School at 1023 Pittston School St. 

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