Heard: April 6, 2018.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March
24, 2017. A motion for a preliminary injunction was heard by
John T. Lu, J. A proceeding for interlocutory review was
heard in the Appeals Court by Mark V. Green, J.
review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court
granted leave to obtain further appellate review.
M. Dombrowski for the plaintiff.
Zaleznik (Benjamin W. O'Grady & John E. Page also
present) for Joseph Z. Shank & others.
F. Goldberg, for town clerk of Townsend & another, was
present but did not argue.
Present: Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, & Kafker, JJ.
registered voters (petitioners) residing in the town of
Townsend (town) petitioned the town to hold a recall election
to remove the plaintiff, Cindy King, a member of the
town's board of selectmen (board),  from office pursuant
to St. 1995, c. 27, the town's recall act (act). On April
9, 2018, we issued an order affirming the order of a single
justice of the Appeals Court preliminarily enjoining the town
from holding a recall election to remove the plaintiff from
office, and we indicated then that an opinion would follow.
This opinion states the reasons for that order. Because the
act provides for a recall vote to take place only on grounds
not alleged here, the recall election sought in this instance
may not proceed.
2017, the petitioners submitted to the town clerk a petition
that sought to recall the plaintiff. See St. 1995, c. 27,
§ 2. The affidavit that accompanied the
petition cited misfeasance and neglect of duty as grounds for
the recall, alleging that, in the plaintiff's role as a
member of the board, she
"neglected her duty to adequately represent the people
of [the town] by refusing to argue in the affirmative for the
public to be allowed a time for public communication at
[board] meetings when no other board before this has refused
to hear public comments or concerns and
"... impeded our Police Chief's ability to do the
job he was hired to do by using her position of authority and
by imposing her views on day-to-day management of the Police
"... neglected to support prior agreements made by the
town with our Police Lieutenant and
"... neglected to speak for obtaining an official and
full background check on an applicant for a senior position
with the [town] prior to signing the employment contract .
response, the plaintiff commenced an action in Superior Court
to enjoin the recall election, and on the same day, she filed
a motion for a preliminary injunction. She contended that the
allegations made against her were legally insufficient to
initiate a recall under the act. A Superior Court judge
denied her motion for a preliminary injunction, and the
plaintiff appealed to a single justice of the Appeals Court,
who ordered that a preliminary injunction issue. After a
single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court denied the
petitioners' subsequent petition for relief, the Appeals
Court reversed the order of the single justice of the Appeals
Court and dissolved the injunction. See King v.
Shank, 92 ...