Hearing is set on recall rules



TREMONT — A public hearing on a proposed recall ordinance for selectmen is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. in the town office meeting room.

The purpose of the meeting is for selectmen to get input on the issue before making a decision on whether to put the proposed ordinance before voters at the May 9 town elections. Voters would have to give their approval for the ordinance to go into effect.

Selectmen were expected to put the proposed ordinance on the town meeting warrant at a Feb. 16 meeting but decided instead to first hold the hearing. The 4-0 vote followed the withdrawal of a motion by Selectman Kevin Buck to put the item on the warrant.

Under the ordinance, a selectmen would be subject to a recall election upon presentation of a written petition signed by a number of voters equal to or greater than 25 percent of the number of votes cast in Tremont during the most recent gubernatorial election.

Resident Mel Atherton first brought the idea of a recall ordinance before selectmen last summer. In August, selectmen voted 3-2 to form a committee to draft a proposed ordinance. Atherton became one of the seven members of the committee and its chairman.

On Wednesday, Atherton said he proposed the ordinance after observing “a lot of turmoil in the town” through his 30-odd years as a resident. The ordinance would be a tool to keep town government running smoothly.

“Tremont is a small town, and it gives more power to the voters,” Atherton said. “Selectmen would become more accountable.”

Mount Desert is the only Mount Desert Island town to have a recall ordinance.