Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
SECTION 1. Any holder of an elective office in the town of Northfield may be recalled and removed by the registered voters of the town as provided in this act, for the reason of lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, corruption, malfeasance or violation of oath.
SECTION 2. One hundred or more registered voters may initiate a recall petition by filing with the town clerk an affidavit containing the name of the officer and the office held whose recall is sought and a statement of the grounds of the recall. Upon certification by the board of registrars of voters, the town clerk shall, within 2 business days, deliver to the voter first named on such affidavit, a sufficient number of copies of petition blanks requesting such recall and shall provide additional blanks upon request. Petitioners may make exact copies of the petitions, provided that the petitioner shall bear the risk that if any such copies are not exact copies, that the signatures affixed thereto shall not be counted towards the total number of signatures required. The blanks shall be issued by the town clerk with the town clerk’s signature and official seal attached thereto; they shall be dated and addressed to the board of selectmen; shall contain the name of the person whose recall is sought, the office from which recall is sought, the grounds for recall as stated in the affidavit and shall demand the election of a successor to such office. A copy of the petition shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk. The recall petition shall be returned and filed with the town clerk within 20 days following the date of issuance of the petition. The recall petition shall be signed by at least 20 per cent of the registered voters in the town, and to every signature shall be added the place of residence of the signer, giving the street and number. The town clerk shall, within 2 business days following the date of such filing, submit the recall petition to the board of registrars of voters, who shall within 5 business days after the day of receipt, certify in writing the number of signatures which are names of voters in the town as of the date the affidavit was filed with the town clerk. The board of registrars of voters shall, upon completion of its certification, return the petition to the town clerk.
SECTION 3. If the petition shall be found and certified by the town clerk to be sufficient, the town clerk shall submit the same with the town clerk’s certificate to the selectmen without delay, and the selectmen shall immediately give to the elected officer whose recall is being sought, written notice of the receipt of the certificate and shall, if the officer sought to be removed does not resign within 5 days thereafter, order a recall election to be held not less than 64 nor more than 90 days after the date the election is called; provided however, that if a town election is to occur within 100 days after the date of the certification, the selectmen may, in their discretion, postpone the holding of the removal election to the date of such other election. If a vacancy occurs in said office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall nevertheless proceed as herein provided.
SECTION 4. Any officer sought to be recalled may be a candidate to succeed in that office, and unless the officer requests otherwise in writing, the town clerk shall place the officer’s name on the official ballot without nomination. The nomination of other candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall election and the conduct of the same shall be under the General Laws relating to elections, unless otherwise provided in this act.
SECTION 5. The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of the office until the recall election. If the recall fails, or if the incumbent is re-elected, the incumbent shall continue in the office for the remainder of the incumbent’s unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided in this act. If not re-elected in the recall election, the incumbent shall be considered removed upon the qualification of the incumbent’s successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term. If the successor fails to qualify within 5 days after receiving notification of the successor’s election, the incumbent shall be considered removed and the office vacant.
SECTION 6. The ballots used in a recall election in the town shall submit the following propositions in the order indicated:
For the recall of (name of officer) (office held)
Against the recall of (name of officer) (office held)
There shall be an appropriate place for the voters to vote for either such propositions, and above said propositions, there shall appear the direction “Vote for one”. Under the propositions shall appear the word “Candidates” and the direction “Vote for one” and beneath this the names of candidates nominated as provided in this act.
If a majority of the votes cast on the recall question is in the affirmative, then the candidate who received the highest number of votes shall be elected. If a majority of the votes cast on the recall question is in the negative, the votes cast for candidates to fill the potential vacancy shall not be counted.
SECTION 7. No recall petition shall be filed against an officer of the town within 6 months after an officer takes office. No recall petition shall be filed against an officer subjected to a recall election and not removed thereby until at least 6 months after the election at which the officer’s recall was submitted to the voters.
SECTION 8. No person who has been recalled from an office or who has resigned from office after a recall petition has been filed shall be appointed to any town office within 2 years after removal by recall or resignation.
SECTION 9. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved, October 11, 2012.