Reading, MA — An affidavit requesting a recall of Select Board chair Vanessa Alvarado was submitted on February 20 with 397 signatures, 147 more than the required 250 per Reading Charter needed for the first phase of the process. Town Clerk Laura Gemme released a copy of the affidavit without the signatures and confirmed verification of the first phase of a recall.
The recall petition, submitted by former Select Board member John Arena states “Ms. Alvarado has reportedly acted to block police force ratification discussions following the Town Manager’s selection of the Police Chief candidate on January 11” and continues “The Select Board is not empowered to select, assist or interfere with a candidate appointed for Police Chief; It may only vote to ratify the Town Manager’s selected appointment.”
The second phase also requires a petition, which must be returned to the town clerk within 21 days and needs to contain the signatures of ten percent or 1,988 signatures, of the town’s registered voters. If the second phase is successfully completed, then the Select Board must call for a recall election not less than 64 days, and not more than 90 days, from receipt of the phase-two petition.
The Reading Post reached out to Vanessa Alvarado and she declined to comment on the recall. Alvarado has come under fire by some who believe that she intentionally used her position as chair to delay a vote to confirm David Clark as the new police chief. At the February 19 Select Board meeting, Alvarado defended her decision to have a board discussion of the police chief selection process at the board’s February 11 meeting, instead of a vote. “My utmost concern was that my colleagues had the chance to ask questions,” Alvarado stated. She also shared that the discussion was delayed from the February 4 agenda “to allow full participation of the board.”
David Clark was confirmed police chief by a 5-0 vote at the February 19 Select Board meeting.