BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate gave its preliminary approval to a Middlefield home rule petition today, under the leadership of State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield).
The legislation, S. 2129 – An Act Relative to Election Recall in the Town of Middlefield was sponsored by Downing and State Representative Denis E. Guyer (D- Dalton) on behalf of the residents of Middlefield. The proposal, approved at Town Meeting by voters on May 5, 2009, establishes a process by which residents can request and garner local support to recall elected municipal officials.
The idea was submitted to Town Meeting after the Select Board learned that no statutory bylaw for recall exists in Massachusetts. The legislation mandates that a recall affidavit must be filed with the Middlefield Town Clerk with at least 50 certified signatures. After the grounds for recall are established, the recall petition must then garner the signatures of at least 25% of the registered voters of the town. If all of the requirements are met, a recall election will be scheduled within 70 days.
Under this proposal, the officer in question may file an argument against the recall, and further, no officer can be recalled within six months of taking office or in the last six months of his or her term. Lastly, no official who has been recalled can be appointed to a local position within one year of the recall.
The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.