A new recall effort is being launched in Orrington to remove three members from the five-member Board of Selectmen in the wake of the firing of the town manager last week.
The target of the recall effort are the three selectmen who voted to fire Joan Gibson of Levant — Chairman Allan Snell, Charles Green and Christopher Robison.
This is the second time this year a group of citizens has tried to boot elected officials out of office. In late January, petitions to recall Selectmen Keith Bowden and Michael Curtis were circulated after voters’ rejected a proposed $3.5 million public safety building. They were withdrawn a month later after Bowden stepped down as chairman and Snell took over.
Don Brown, a member of the recall committee, announced the effort at Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting. He said the impetus for the action was the firing of Gibson, who had been on the job just two months.
Snell, Green and Robison voted to fire Gibson. Bowden and Curtis voted for her to stay on the job.
Curtis said at the end of the meeting that he is “not a fan of recall petitions. I think recalls happen on Election Day.”
“I think that initiating a recall because of the way a selectman voted is stomping your feet after the fact,” he said.
Residents packed the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night, but few spoke.
Sharon Caron, who regularly attends meetings, said that the selectmen have not told residents why Gibson was fired.
“Joan was not given a chance,” she said.
Caron questioned whether the board as a whole had given her goals and objectives.
Snell declined to comment on the board’s behalf.
Diana Collins reminded the board that they had hired someone without management experience. Gibson had never worked in a municipal office before taking the job in Orrington.
“This whole thing has been very difficult,” Collins said.
Snell said the board had not yet appointed an interim town manager or had a discussion about a possible candidate.
Robison is the only selectman up for re-election this year. His opponents on the June 3 ballot are Allan Elkin and Dale Quimby. Elkin led the opposition to the public safety building in December, maintaining that it could be built for less than $3.5 million.
To initiate a recall, five residents had to form a committee and request petitions. Town employees have three days to provide them, so petitioners should be able to pick them up Wednesday.
They have 30 days to gather 206 valid signatures from Orrington voters — 10 percent of the residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election. Once the five residents submit petitions to Town Clerk Susan Carson, she would have seven days to validate them and send them on to the board of selectmen. Under state law, the recall votes must be held within 30 days, and they would require support from two-thirds of those voting to be successful. It’s highly unlikely a recall vote could be held at the annual town meeting June 3.
If the recall is successful, a special election to fill vacant select board seats must be held within 30 days after that. Bowden and Curtis both could run in the special election or any other municipal election after that, Carson said.
In addition to the election for the Board of Selectmen, three people are running for two seats on the school board June 3. They are Michelle Schleck, Andrew Hillman and Heather Harriman.