LITCHFIELD — A townwide vote on whether to recall Selectman Tim Lachapelle has been scheduled for Dec. 20.
The Select Board scheduled the vote after more than 200 residents signed a petition seeking Lachapelle’s recall. Selectmen also agreed to hold a public hearing about the proposed recall on Dec. 5.
Selectmen Mark Russell and George Thomson decided on those dates this week after Town Manager Trudy Lamoreau presented them with the citizen petition.
Lachapelle did not attend that meeting or several others before it. He didn’t respond to a request for comment about his proposed removal from the three-person board.
Since Lachapelle was elected narrowly to the board in a three-way race last June, he has accused several local officials of misconduct.
In a letter he distributed to residents last month, Lachapelle accused Code Enforcement Officer Steve Ochmanski of stealing from the town and questioned whether it was legal for the town to hire Bryan T. Lamoreau, the husband of Town Manager Trudy Lamoreau, as the town’s transfer station manager in the summer of 2015, among other allegations.
Both Lamoreau and Ochmanski have said Lachapelle’s accusations are without merit.
Lachapelle also has complained about the time it takes town employees to fulfill requests under the Freedom of Access Act. During an interview last month, he also said he would not attend selectmen’s meetings until the outcome of the recall vote is clear, because he does not agree with the way the town is being run.
Litchfield selectmen make $2,000 a year, regardless of the number of meetings they attend.
Thomson has complained about Lachapelle’s absence from meetings, saying it has increased responsibility for the other board members.
Residents submitted the recall petition the same week that Lachapelle wrote his letter accusing officials of misconduct. The petition was signed by 213 residents, more than the 172 required for the petition to go forward.
Lamoreau presented that petition to selectmen this week, as is required under a recall ordinance approved by local voters at a special town meeting on Oct. 11. Before that ordinance was approved, Litchfield had no legal mechanism for removing an elected official from office for reasons other than criminal activity.
The recall vote will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 20.