February 24, 2020
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Ogunquit residents angry over fire chief’s dismssal deliver recall petitions to select board

CBS 13 | BDN
CBS 13 | BDN
Former Ogunquit fire chief Mark O'Brien. The Ogunquit Select Board on Tuesday received recall petitions but delayed setting a date for the vote until Feb. 5. The recall effort was launched in response to the Select Board's decision to uphold the firing of former fire chief Mark O’Brien.

The Ogunquit Select Board on Tuesday received petitions to recall three of its five members but delayed setting a date for the vote until early February.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the board voted unanimously to wait until Feb. 5 to schedule a date for the recall election, which will likely happen in April or May.

[Residents angry over fire chief dismissal seek recall of 3 selectmen]

The recall effort, launched by the group Take Back Ogunquit, started in reaction to the firing of former fire chief Mark O’Brien, and it targets three Select Board members — Chairman Charles Waite III and board members Madeline Moody and Robert Winn — who voted to uphold O’Brien’s termination.

O’Brien’s firing and the subsequent recall effort has left Ogunquit sharply divided, with another citizen’s group — Ogunquit Resident Alliance — challenging Take Back Ogunquit’s accusations and criticism of the Select Board.

In December, O’Brien sued the town in York County Superior Court. His complaint asks the court to vacate his firing and order the town to reinstate him with back pay, full benefits and paid legal fees.

[‘I’ve got nothing to hide’: Town fire chief says he’ll fight termination]

O’Brien was put on paid administrative leave by Town Manager Pat Finnigan on June 27, 2018, during an investigation into concerns brought to her by firefighters. Finnigan fired O’Brien on Sept. 18, 2018, after the investigation concluded.

His firing was appealed to the Select Board on Oct. 9, 2018, and the board ultimately upheld his termination in a 3-2 vote.


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