Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Maine: Bowdoinham considering adopting recall

The town of Bowdoinham is scheduled to vote on a recall in November. Here's the details:

The four-page ordinance to be discussed during public hearing Tuesday contains 10 sections titled establishment, applicability, grounds for recall, petition for recall, clerk’s certification, calling the recall election, ballots for recall election, result of election, recall election called by vote of the board of selectmen, and filling vacancy.

As worded, the ordinance allows recall of an elected official for failure to appropriately carry out the duties and responsibilities of the office; engaging in conduct which brings the office into disrepute; engaging in conduct which displays an unfitness to hold the office; or for the indictment for a felony or conviction of any crime under the laws of the state of Maine or of the United States.

As proposed, a recall petition must contain signatures of registered Bowdoinham voters equal to or greater than 15 percent of the number of Bowdoinham votes cast in the last gubernatorial election but never less than 100. The petition must be addressed to the members of the Board of Selectmen who are not subjects of the petition — or to the town clerk if all selectmen are subjects of the recall

A separate petition must be submitted for each official being sought for removal. A petition for recall must state the name and office of the person the petition aims to recall, and include a statement of the specific reasons consistent with the grounds for recall section “and include specific examples of conduct which justifies recall.”

All signatures on the petition must be signed within 60 days of the petition being filed with the town clerk. A selectman may not be the subject of a recall petition or recall election during the first or last 100 days of his or her term.

The ordinance contains time restraints for a determination of sufficiency by the town clerk, and then for selectmen to order a secret ballot recall election.

Recall elections must be scheduled in a way that prevents any possibility of less than three sitting members on what will be a five-member Board of Selectmen after Nov. 8 — even if this requires multiple recall elections on different dates.

According to the proposed ordinance language, the person who has been the subject of a failed recount election may not be the subject of a recall petition or recall election for one year following the failed recall election. Nor can a person who has been recalled from office be a candidate for the Board of Selectmen for at least one year after the date of the recall election.

This ordinance contains provisions under which the Board of Selectmen by majority vote can call for a recall election of a board member. Those provisions include if the member has been absent from board meetings in the previous 90 days; has been absent from at least half of the board meetings in the previous six months; has been indicted for a felony as defined by state and federal law; or has been convicted of any crime as defined by state or federal law.

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