Recall petitions out for two Paris selectmen

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PARIS — There are two recall election petitions circulating around town to remove Selectmen Mike Risica and Janet Jamison from the board.

The two petitions were taken out from the town office on Nov. 25, Town Manager Amy Bernard said. She added about a half a dozen people have come into the office asking about the recall process. Town Clerk Liz Knox said she wasn’t at work that day and was unsure of who took out the petitions. According to the town’s ordinance for a recall election, the petitioner must garner 10 percent of registered voters in Paris to authorize a recall election, which is 365 signatures, Knox said.

There isn’t any time frame as to when the petitions have to be returned once they’ve begun circulating, Bernard said.

“We don’t have them back yet,” she said Tuesday. “They may not bring it back. That’s reality. Until it comes back, it’s not official.”

Risica said he hasn’t veered from his plan when he originally ran for selectman earlier this year.

“This is what I said when I was running for this office: ‘I am going to make the hard choices and I am out to cut the taxes.’ I am doing what I said I was going to do,” he said. “My thoughts are evidently people don’t like to hear the tough questions and they don’t like to have to answer tough questions.”

As a selectman, Risica wants to rein in municipal spending.

“A town of 5,200, we don’t need a New York City-style fire department. It is something that would be really nice to have but when people can’t afford to have it, that’s a luxury we can’t afford,” he said. “I know these people want to have their job as an EMS person, but I am sorry, Paris isn’t big enough.”

Even if the petition is turned in, Risica isn’t losing sleep over it.

“I feel confident that the people are behind me,” he said.

Jamison declined to comment, saying she wanted to reserve her comments until the next selectmen’s meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, at the town office, 33 Market Square.

The ordinance only allows for recall elections for elected officials – selectmen and members of the Paris Utility District board – and precludes SAD 17 directors. The petitions must be handed into the board of selectmen and include reasons for the request to remove the elected official.

After selectmen received the certified recall petition, the board has to issue a warrant for a secret ballot election within seven days of receiving the document. Officials whose recall is sought are allowed to request a public hearing and selectmen must schedule one no fewer than seven days before the election.

As for the election results, if there’s an affirmative vote for removal for that official, the vote takes “effect immediately upon the recording of the vote tabulation into the records.” A tie vote defeats the recall.

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