By Anne O’Connor
SHIRLEY — Two selectmen were recalled and two others were elected to take their seats by a townwide vote of almost 2-1.
On Monday, Jim Wilson was elected to finish Bob Prescott’s term ending in spring 2017. Holly Haase now has the seat that Kendra Dumont, held which ends in spring 2018.
Prescott was recalled with a vote of 825 to 451. On the second part of the ballot, Wilson took the seat with 830 votes to Prescott’s 477.
Dumont was recalled with a vote of 832 to 422. Haase received 872 votes to defeat Dumont with 434.
The unofficial results showed 1,347 ballots cast, a 31.4 percent turnout. There are 4,290 registered voters.
“One person doesn’t make a government,” Haase said after the results came in. “We brought in a lot of young people. They took a stand.”
“Our main goal, no matter what, is to heal this town,” Haase said.
“People in town have given us a mandate for change,” Wilson said. “I’m deeply humbled by the support of the people.”
“The people of Shirley have spoken,” Prescott said.
Dumont could not be reached.
The board plans to hold an organizational meeting on Friday and a full meeting on Monday, Wilson said.
The effort to recall Dumont and Prescott got underway after the Board of Selectmen approved an increase in health-care benefits for Town Administrator Patrice Garvin.
Town Meeting rejected contracted pay increase for her and the recall filers claimed that the more generous benefits circumvented the town’s vote.
Middlesex Superior Court denied a temporary injunction to stop the recall election. The two selectmen questioned the reason for the recall and the process of verifying signatures in their request to the court.
On Jan. 18, the Attorney General found that selectmen violated the Open Meeting Law in July and August when it met in executive session. The board did not cite the proper statute for the meeting and discussed topics that should be discussed in an open meeting, the letter from the Attorney General’s office said.
The complaint was filed in October by Selectman Enrico Cappucci. He was at the meetings.
Outside the polls Monday, opponents and supporters of the recall held signs and waved at cars. The two groups were on opposite sides of the road leading into the town offices.
Each group was clear on why they supported their side.
After the selectmen voted to increase the benefits, “we all rallied around the no,” said Jason Rakip.
The other big part of the equation was how Alfreda Cromwell, a member of the Police Department, was fired the day after 200 people showed up to support her, Rakip said. Townspeople should be treated with dignity and respect.
The selectmen’s vote to increase the town administrator’s benefits is not a reason for a recall, said Stew Cady, a member of the Finance Committee.
“I think (the town administrator) is doing a wonderful job in moving the town forward with the help of the selectmen,” he said. Cady was on the selection committee for the town administrator.
“They didn’t respect townspeople,” said Aly Begun. Dumont and Prescott used a back door to give Garvin a raise. They also did not answer questions, she said.
Another woman, who declined to share her name, said she was a victim of domestic violence and rape, praised the two selectmen and the police chief. .
“They’ve been a great support to me,” she said. “The other side has not.”
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