Next meeting June 10

Petition seeks recall of St. Clair

Town Meeting June 12
By Beth A. Birmingham | Jun 05, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Selectman Beverly St. Clair, left, at a prior Board of Selectmen's meeting in Thomaston. A citizen's petition is circulating to seek a recall and removal of her from the board.

Thomaston — 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.

 

 

Comments (9)
Posted by: Douglas E Collins | Jun 06, 2019 17:00

Ok Beth, let me walk you through it...(in other words do your investigation for you) because some of us in this town actually care about the truth.  If you read the ordinance, under chapter 1 Government & Organization Recall of Elected Municipal Officers General. 101.1 - Establishment - it refers you to section MRSA Title 30-A Section 2602.  Letter H. of that state law-states Recall pursuant to section 2505 as outlined in my previous response.  Beverly St, Clair has not been convicted of a crime of any kind.  So again the town ordinance directs you to 2602, which clearly states "must be convicted of a crime".

What you have done to this couple is unforgivable....



Posted by: Dennis Simmons | Jun 06, 2019 16:53

Douglas, the very first line of Title 30-A Chapter 121 Subsection 1 states "Except as otherwise provided by the municipalities ordinances or charter..." Under home rule a municipality may enact their own recall procedures for elected officials. If Thomaston has such an ordinance or provision in their town charter, then that is governing law here.



Posted by: Beth Birmingham | Jun 06, 2019 11:56

Actually, to be completely accurate: Recalling a municipal official is as you stated, Brenda, unless there is a local ordinance in effect -- which there is.



Posted by: Lucinda Lang | Jun 06, 2019 10:26

Hello Beth Birmingham,

I think it could be especially helpful to know exactly who was interviewed for this piece? And also please who are the sources ?   Evidently there was no petition posted or placed in public.   Was official public notice provided by the Town ? Thank you.



Posted by: Douglas E Collins | Jun 05, 2019 18:10

I apologize to you Patricia Hubbard for my post, Idid not mean to put your name in it!



Posted by: Douglas E Collins | Jun 05, 2019 18:05

I love how you Patricia Hubbard talk about her behavior, maybe someone should dig into the behavior of a few of the selectman!  Brenda Porter



Posted by: Douglas E Collins | Jun 05, 2019 17:50

Yes, who are these people?  I bet most of us could name them and why they are concerned.  Are they all on committees and socialize with each other and the PAST Town Manager?  It's hard to imagine they are all altruistic. Give me a break.

As for thinking long and hard (about demeaning a select woman), I'm laughing my ass off, that's exactly what you wanted to do. There is no other reason for this than taking a member of the select board down because she's asking questions that might inconvenience one of the "club".

I only hope Ms. St. Clair not only continues doing her job but turns up the heat and demands answers.  And when the time comes I hope Ms. Beth Bermingham gives the answers Ms St Clair gets the same enthusiastic coverage she's giving this  "story".  I guess it's nice to be friends with the reporter huh?

 

PS Ms. Bermingham you might want to look up Title 30-A 2505 Recall of Municipal Officials #9...….. oh never mind, let me spell it out for you, I want it to be accurate.

9. Limitation of Recall. An elected official may be the subject of a recall petition under this section only if the official is convicted of a crime, the conduct of which occurred during the official's term of office and the victim is the municipality.

 



Posted by: Christopher Hedstrom | Jun 05, 2019 17:05

So a small group of disgruntled women gave Ms St Clair an ultimatum..You meet with us and if you dont we will circulate a petition to get rid of you and just to make it more fun for the bullies they called the newspaper. Sounds like highschool. Gross behavior from these childish women..Peggy.



Posted by: Patricia Hubbard | Jun 05, 2019 16:03

Lots of unanswered questions in this piece. Who are the concerned citizens who wrote the statement? Who is circulating the petition? Who is the mediator that spoke for the group asking for a meeting with St. Clair. Inquiring minds want to know. If this is so important to them they should step out of the shadows and be heard. Please interview them and let’s get some answers and just not a bunch of 4th grade mean girl stuff. As an FYI, I just checked at all places of business in Thomaston and there is not one petition. I asked three shop keepers if they had seen it and the response was, "I'm not touching it with a 10 foot pole." What is an example of St. Clare’s combative behavior with town employees? Please interview the women in the town office and let them make a statement. I'd be interested to know exactly how she abused them. It could be that this petition started with an email sent around town from Margaret McCrae. Here it is.

“This is a very disturbing controversy for me and I have thought long and hard before agreeing to any participation.  However, the longer Ms St. Claire is allowed to continue, the more she will think her behavior is acceptable.  Part of the reason we moved to this lovely small town was for the personal connections with neighbors and other caring volunteers and the respect for one another that this fosters. I do not agree with Ms St Claire's repeated and numerous personal attacks and lack of respect for the town employees as well as a good many volunteers.  If change is the the desired goal, there are more respectful and decent ways to obtain it.  Her behavior has been shameful in the way she has treated Val and others, and she should not be allowed to continue in this manner and style. Would you be interested in signing a petition for her recall?  This does not mean immediate termination.  A recall vote would be scheduled and the voters would then make their choice to vote her in or not. I believe she could be an effective member of the board if she could change her tactics and work better with others to form consensus. It is my hope this action would make her a little more cognizant of the benefits of doing so.  If you would like to sign, please let me know when it might be most convenient to do so. Respectfully, albeit regretfully, Peggy”

Hmmm. I wonder what the real story is.



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