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. Chapter 620 of the acts of 1966 is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
33. Recall of Elected Officials
(a) Any holder of an elected office in the town of Ipswich who has held an elected townwide office and whose term of office extends beyond the next annual town election, may be recalled therefrom by the registered voters of the town as provided in this section, for reasons of: (i) conviction of a felony while in office or conviction of the following misdemeanors, as defined by the General Laws, while in office: domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the illegal manufacture, distribution or dispensing of controlled substances, assault or criminal harassment; (ii) admission to facts, while in office, sufficient to be convicted of a felony or sufficient to be convicted of the following misdemeanors, as defined in the General Laws: domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the illegal manufacture, distribution or dispensing of controlled substances, assault or criminal harassment; (iii) being in violation of the conflict of interest law, in chapter 268A of the General Laws, while in office, as determined by the state ethics commission or the attorney general; or (iv) attended less than 50 per cent of the posted public meetings of the board or office on which the official was an elected member or to which the official was elected or appointed as part of that official’s elected position during the previous 12 months. The elected official’s vote on a matter, other than in connection with a conflict of interest violation, shall not be grounds for a recall petition.
(b) Ten or more registered voters of the town of Ipswich may make and file a notice of intent with the town clerk bearing the name of the elected official sought to be recalled and a statement of the specific grounds for the recall as established under subsection (a), with information sufficient to support the specific grounds for recall, at least 170 days before the next annual town election. Upon certification of the required signatures by the registrar of voters and a determination that the notice of intent contains information sufficient to support the specific grounds for the recall, as confirmed by town counsel, within 5 business days, the clerk shall deliver to the first named voter on the notice of intent, the petition forms, addressed to the board of selectmen requesting a recall. The petition forms shall be issued under the signature and official seal of the town clerk. The petition forms shall be dated and shall contain the names of the first 10 registered voters whose names appear on the notice of intent to recall. In addition, the petition shall request the election of a successor to the office. A copy of the petition form shall be entered in a record book to be kept in the office of the town clerk. The recall petition forms shall be returned and filed with the town clerk within 60 days after the receipt of the signed petition forms, or the next business day if the sixtieth day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, with signatures, names and precincts. The town clerk shall, within 3 business days after the petition forms are filed with the office of the town clerk, submit the recall petition forms to the registrar of voters. The registrar shall, within 15 business days after the date of receipt, certify in writing to the town clerk, the number of signatures which are names of registered voters in Ipswich.
(c) If the recall forms shall be certified by the registrar of voters to contain at least 1500 signatures of registered voters in Ipswich, including at least 200 registered voters from each precinct, the petition shall be filed by the town clerk with the board of selectmen within 2 business days. The selectmen shall give notice following the next scheduled board of selectmen meeting, in writing, to the elected official whose recall is sought by sending that elected official a copy of the certified recall petition.
If the elected official to whom the recall is directed by the board of selectmen does not resign the office within 5 business days from the date of notice, the board of selectmen shall order a recall election to be held on the date of the next town election. If a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered, the election shall proceed as provided in this section, but only ballots for the new candidates shall be counted.
(d) An elected official whose recall is sought shall not be a candidate in the recall election. The nomination of candidates, the publication of the warrant for the recall election and the conduct of the election shall be in accordance with the state and local laws relative to elections, unless otherwise provided in this section.
(e) The incumbent shall continue to perform the duties of the office until the recall election, unless the elected official resigns. If the incumbent is not recalled, that person shall remain in office for the remainder of the incumbent’s unexpired term, subject to recall as before, except as provided by this section. If recalled in the recall election, the incumbent shall be considered removed upon the qualification of the successor, who shall hold office during the unexpired term.
(f) Ballots used in a recall election shall contain the following propositions in the order indicated:
For the recall of (name of elected official) who holds the position of (elected office)
Against the recall of (name of official) who holds the position of (elected office)
Immediately at the right of each proposition there shall be a designated space for voters to vote for either of the propositions. Under the propositions shall appear the words “Candidates and directions to voters required by section 42 of chapter 54 of the General Laws” and beneath those words, the names of the candidates nominated listed alphabetically as herein provided. If a majority of the votes cast upon the question of the recall is in favor of the recall, the elected official shall be recalled and the ballots for candidates shall be counted. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. If the majority of the votes are cast in the negative, the ballots for candidates need not be counted unless the incumbent official has previously resigned or a vacancy occurs in the office after a recall election has been ordered under subsection (c).
(g) A recall petition shall not be filed against an elected official within 6 months after the official has taken office, unless the elected official has been re-elected to another consecutive term in office, then a recall petition may be filed not sooner than 3 months after such official takes office on the re-election vote. In the case of an elected official subjected to a recall election and not recalled, a recall petition shall not be filed against that official until at least 6 months after the election at which the recall was submitted to the voters of the town; provided, however, that an elected official shall not be subject to a subsequent recall petition for the same specific grounds that were the basis of any prior recall petition.
(h) A person who has been recalled from office, or who has resigned from office after the recall petition has been certified by the registrar of voters, shall not be appointed to any town office, board or committee within 2 years after the recall or resignation.
Approved, October 3, 2013.