A citizen's petition circulating in Thomaston is seeking to have Selectman Beverly St. Clair recalled and removed from her position as an elected municipal official.

On June 4, through a mediator, a group of concerned citizens offered to meet St. Clair in a neutral location to resolve differences in a non-threatening environment.

"It was hoped that respective complaints could be shared to reach a mutual understanding of each other's positions and then work to negotiate solutions," a written statement said. However, "the offer was met with adamant refusal" and the group began canvassing the town for signatures.

The statement began with a direct quote from St. Clair's bio she supplied to Villagesoup in May 2018 when she decided to run for an open seat, "To me this is our town at its best — the town manager, the budget committee and the select board working together to do the very best we can for the town of Thomaston. This willingness to work together is another reason I want to be part of the select board."

The concerned citizens' statement noted Valmore Blastow, Jr.'s dedication to the town over the past 28 years and said "It felt like there had been a death in a small town family" when they read about the town manager's resignation.

The petition states "her behaviors, combative attitude and harassment with regards to Thomaston Town employees, committee volunteers and residents attending town meetings while acting as a select board member" as being "a primary contributor to divisiveness and have had a negative impact on Thomaston's public image and ability to move forward effectively and efficiently."

The written statement acknowledges that St. Clair has made efforts to learn more about town government, "but she still has much to learn about working with others. She should have been working with the town manager to learn more about how the town operates, not openly refusing to speak with him for the past few months."

"To make change one must learn from the past and then proceed with incremental steps toward improvements," it went on.

Amended in October 1993, the town ordinance states any elected selectman or assessor of the Town of Thomaston may be recalled and removed from office with the following stipulations:

— the petition must contain only signatures of registered voters of the Town of Thomaston equal to 10 percent of the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election;

— the petition shall be addressed to those members of the Board of Selectmen having no interest in the subject matter of the petition; and

— the petition shall state the name and office of the person whose removal is being sought, and a general statement of the reasons such removal is desired.

Following receipt of the petition, the Town Clerk must certify the signatures, then submit it to the Board of Selectmen, and notify the official whose removal is being sought.

An election by secret ballot would then need to be held, unless said official resigned within 10 days of receipt of the petition by the board. In the event of an affirmative vote for removal, such vote shall take effect as of the recording of the vote tabulation into the records.

"By signing a request for recall petition, Thomaston residents are making a statement that Thomaston does not stand for divisiveness and disrespect but rather for working together while respecting one another's positions," the statement said.

The concerned citizens said they are not trying to conduct a vindictive act, but rather "trying to stop a wrong we see by the lack of respect and civility."

"She's an intelligent person," the group stated, adding, "but there's a right way to bring about change and there's a wrong way."

The petition is available to sign at several locations throughout town. As of noon, June 5 it contained more than half of the 133 signatures necessary to be verified and submitted to move forward.

St. Clair has not responded to a request for comment.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.



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