Recall attempt after proposed requirement to have a gun is personal, ridiculous, Byron selectman says

Posted March 23, 2013, at 6:20 a.m.

BYRON, Maine – A recall effort against the head selectman, who in early March made waves with a proposal to require every household in town to have a gun, is ridiculous and personal, one of her fellow selectmen said Friday.

A resident submitted a recall petition against Anne Simmons-Edmunds on Thursday.

“I think that the person who submitted the petition to remove Anne from office has a beef with her, and what’s personal should remain personal,” Selectman Patrick Knapp-Veilleux said. “I don’t know the exact reasoning behind it, but I think that this issue should stay personal and leave the town out of it. Byron doesn’t need another scandal.”

The petition comes nearly two weeks after residents overwhelmingly voted against a mandatory firearms possession article at the annual town meeting.

The petition was initiated by Robert P. Bourassa, who presented five reasons why Simmons-Edmunds should be recalled and removed from office, including subjecting residents of the town to ridicule, embarrassment and disrepute, failing to inform voters of a state law that would have voided the firearm ordinance, if passed, and misleading voters at the annual town meeting regarding a newspaper story about her by telling them she was misquoted.

Veilleux said that, during Thursday night’s selectmen meeting, there was “no discussion on the recall petition by the public whatsoever.

“The names were verified by the town clerk, but the petition hasn’t been certified yet,” Veilleux said. “Nobody showed up to give their opinion on it.”

One question Veilleux had was why Edmunds was being singled out when all three selectmen, including Veilleux, approved the mandatory firearms possession article to appear on the warrant.

“We all voted to place that question on the warrant,” Veilleux said, “yet Anne is the only one with a recall petition. It’s ridiculous.”

Veilleux said that while he doesn’t think putting the firearms possession article on the warrant was a mistake, he thinks “there should have been a lot more discussion on it.

“Unfortunately, this whole thing turned into a big deal and snowballed out of control,” he said.

Edmunds and Selectman David Noyes declined comment on the recall petition Friday, although Edmunds suggested that if people wish to discuss the petition, they should show up at the next selectmen’s meeting April 4.

Bourassa could not be reached for comment as of Friday night.

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