The Recall Dan Freitas movement has just received word that Selectman Freitas has retained Attorney Horn to question the recall petition. Attorney Horn (the same attorney who represented Ms. Wendy Graves in claims against Selectman Espindola) alleges “discrepancies” in the recall petition. This is an affront to the legitimate process that was followed and a blatant insult to the 2,500+ voters who signed that petition in good faith.
We are pleased to announce that we have exceeded the signature threshold we need - 2,400 - to prompt a special recall election! This was no small feat but thanks to the overwhelming support received, we were able to collect signatures totaling 20 percent of all registered voters in 14 days, pursuant to the Town’s recall bylaw. That’s over four times the number of people who voted Mr. Freitas into his position in 2019.
Update: we are 150 signatures over the margin and we aren’t even done counting!!
On April 15, Mr. Freitas indicated on his Facebook page that he would step down, and not run, if the recall group obtained the signatures needed. We hope Mr. Freitas will keep his word, and let this Town recover from this failed leadership. It’s time for a new leader to assume his seat; one that will remember that the Select Board work FOR the people, not AGAINST the people.
Again, we could not have done this without our amazing volunteers, and without YOU, the people. Thank you for showing what we value as a community - decency, transparency, and fairness in OUR government. We will continue to accept signatures until tomorrow morning at 9 am, April 27, so you can be heard; then all signatures will be submitted to the Town Clerk.
FAIRHAVEN — It appears as though the chairman of the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen is about to resign his seat rather than face a recall election.
Dan Freitas is the subject of an effort by a group of citizens calling themselves Recall Dan Freitas, which started a petition to force a recall election in an attempt to oust the controversial selectman from office.
The group, which needed to collect 2,400 signatures in order to move forward with the recall process, put out a press release Monday evening stating it had met its goal and was now turning the signatures over to the Town Clerk for verification. The verification process must be completed within seven days, per town bylaws.
Freitas alleges that Graves was a finalist but had been removed “because her personnel file was given to the Neighborhood News, and we’re actually going to be investigating that,” he said.
The paper has referred to that accusation as a “mistaken assumption.”
The group also alleges Freitas is responsible for allowing fellow selectman Keith Silvia to participate in the Town Administrator search, despite a conflict of interest due to Silvia’s wife Anne serving as director of the Council on Aging and reporting directly to the Town Administrator. Freitas called it an “oversight” and said it was rectified as soon as the board was informed of the conflict by legal counsel.
They also say he has been “abusive toward his fellow selectmen” and point to a July 1, 2020 incident in which Freitas allegedly got into a physical confrontation with a man and a woman in the parking lot of the Fairhaven McDonald’s as an example of how Fairhaven has “gotten to the point where we have accepted and normalized this kind of behavior from Selectman Freitas.”
If you'd like to sign the petition or help with this critical effort, please call/text 508-306-1669 or visit www.facebook.com/recalldanfreitas
For all updates on signature drives and locations please check the FB page.
If you are feeling left out and
want to sign the recall petition,
you still can
Final hours of signing this morning.
Or call 508-306-1669
and we'll come to you.
by Standard Times , Daniel Schemer Correspondent
According to the group who has organized the petition just under 1,500 signatures have already been collected, more than half than what is needed.
Why is Daniel Freitas being targeted by this recall effort?
According to the press release submitted by group calling itself Recall Dan Freitas, he “has created a circus of the Select Board by abandoning meetings in anger, skipping meetings to delay decisions, and gaslighting the public to place blame for his bad behavior on other people.”
Examples of this behavior the group gave in its press release are allegations that Freitas committed abusive treatment toward other Select Board members and town employees, manipulated the hiring process for the search for a new Town Administrator in order to favor an insider candidate, wasted $10,000 in taxpayer money for a recruitment screening process for the new TA position the group says he had no intention of accepting results from, committed open meeting violations by deliberating with at least one other Selectman outside of meetings, and regularly ignored and berated questions and responses from the public.
The group also references a criminal complaint of assault & battery filed in court by the Fairhaven Police over an alleged physical altercation from July 1 of last year in the town’s McDonald’s parking lot in Plaza Way between Freitas and his then 18-year-old daughter against a couple they knew.
Since then, Freitas has refused to comment on the pending case.
'A smear campaign'
Freitas responded to news of the recall petition through his Facebook page, calling it a “smear campaign” and stating it is “a small group of people in town who have spread numerous lies about me.”
In his response Freitas states he has “given a large portion of my adult life to helping the people in this town.” He further accuses the group leading the recall effort of being “former town employees who have been fired from the town or left because their actions would have gotten them fired.”
He responds directly to accusations of abuse against town employees by stating “all you have to do is call the town hall and ask any employee if I treat them poorly. Walk in and ask.”
How the petition works
The group launched its recall effort on April 13, maintaining a constant online presence, placing yard signs all over town, and tabling high-traffic areas, such as Livesay Park, Ocean State Job Lot, Stop N Shop, in front of The Post Office, and outside Town Hall. They’ve also been offering to come to residents’ homes with the petition, or offering petitions online that can be printed out.
Under the town bylaws, a recall petition against an elected official requires the signatures of at least 20% of the town’s registered voters, or about 2,400 signatures. The group has 14 days to reach this goal and must submit all of them to the Town Clerk no later than Tuesday, April 27.
The group is planning its final big push for signatures this weekend. Ann Richard, one of the chief coordinators of the recall effort, stated that, based on its rate of accumulation of signatures over the last week and a few days, the group is on target to reach its goal.
According to Special Acts A502-4, Chapter 516, of the Town Bylaws, once the petition and required number of signatures are collected by the Town Clerk and certified by the Registrar of Voters, it is then submitted to the Board of Selectmen. In this case, Freitas would receive notice of the certified recall petition and has five days after delivery of the notice to resign.
If Freitas weren’t to resign, the Board of Selectmen can order a special town election. Depending on available options, the special town election could range from a Yes or No question to recall, to voters choosing from a selection of candidates, in which case Freitas would have the option to appear on the ballot.
People who want to learn more about this recall effort can look up https://www.recalldanfreitas.com/ or check out the group’s Facebook Page.
Amazing progress report as of Tuesday, 4/20: just under 1,500 of your friends have signed this petition, and there are still dozens of petitions in circulation now that are uncounted. Over 50 Fairhavenites who are passionate about this town's future are working hard every day to locate everyone who believes we need this change in leadership now. We all believe this recall is necessary to restore our town's civility and trust. These numbers show that you believe it too. Please sign and spread the word!
A group calling itself Recall Dan Freitas is seeking to collect the necessary signatures to force a recall election to attempt to remove him from office.
“For the last few years, Selectman Freitas has increasingly demonstrated his inability or unwillingness to represent the people of Fairhaven,” the group said in a press release.
Freitas tells WBSM News he doesn’t think the effort will be successful in even forcing the recall election.
“It’s just a group of a couple of angry citizens, not a whole bunch of them,” he said. He also suggested that many of the complaints against him come from the way he is portrayed in local media coverage and that the people behind the recall effort are former employees that were “fired from the town.”
Freitas said he is just the first of a few recall efforts the group is planning.
“They’re trying to do it to me, they’re also going to be doing it to (Board of Health chair) Peter DeTerra and (BOH vice chair) Mike Ristuccia,” he alleged.
A major focus of the recall effort is the role Freitas has played in Fairhaven’s search for a new Town Administrator.
“His failed leadership has reached critical mass with the botched recruitment of a Town Administrator, the most important administrative position in town government. This failed recruitment is the result of Selectman Freitas’ attempts to manipulate the process to favor an unqualified insider candidate,” the campaign alleges.
Freitas has pushed for interim Town Administrator Wendy Graves, who also serves as Finance Director, Treasurer, and Collector for the town, to get the job.
As reported by the Fairhaven Neighborhood News, Graves was not one of the three finalists selected by the town’s screening committee but was added to the final candidates after Freitas nominated himself to the screening committee and was confirmed with a yes vote by fellow selectman Keith Silvia; the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen has only three members. Since then, Freitas has pushed for Graves to be offered the position on a full-time basis.
Freitas, however, contends that Graves was one of the original three finalists and was only later removed from the final three “because her personnel file was given to the Neighborhood News, and we’re actually going to be investigating that,” he said.
The paper has referred to that accusation as a “mistaken assumption.”
The recall group also alleges that Freitas is responsible for “allowing a fellow board member to participate in the (Town Administrator) hiring process while that member’s involvement was in violation of state ethics laws.” The allegation refers to Silvia being involved in the process because his wife Anne Silvia is the director of the Council on Aging and reports directly to the Town Administrator. Silvia has since recused himself from the process.
Freitas said the select board was not aware of the conflict during the process.
“The second we found out about this, the second we were told from counsel, it stopped,” he said. “I don’t know every rule and regulation that goes along with it, so it was an oversight, an oversight on all our parts. So that’s where we ended it. But we can’t go backward, we can’t change the past.”
The recall campaign press release also states that “Mr. Freitas has been abusive toward his fellow selectmen, particularly Selectman (Robert) Espindola, who he has routinely silenced and insulted, and working with Selectman Silvia, flouted tradition to block Mr. Espindola’s access to the chairmanship.”
The recall campaign press release also points out that, “most importantly, Selectman Freitas stands accused of a July 1, 2020 incident in which he allegedly assaulted a young man and woman in a Fairhaven parking lot. We have gotten to the point where we have accepted and normalized this kind of behavior from Selectman Freitas.”
The group is alluding to an incident in which Freitas and his daughter allegedly got into a physical fight with a man and a woman in the parking lot of the Fairhaven McDonald’s.
While not addressing that incident specifically, Freitas said he’s no longer bothered by what people say about him or his personality.
“At first it used to bother me, but it doesn’t truly bother me anymore,” he said. “I know the truth. They can continue putting out what they want. I can’t fight every accusation out there that’s not true.”
(WJAR) — A Fairhaven selectman could appear in court after an alleged fight broke out near a local McDonald’s.
The altercation happened in the parking lot between a local McDonald’s and Sullivan Tire around 9 p.m. on July 1, according to the Fairhaven Police Department.
Fairhaven Police have not released any names, but NBC 10 has confirmed the incident involved Daniel Freitas, Chair of the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen.
The criminal complaint seeks to charge the 51-year-old with two counts of assault and battery.
Police say they investigated the incident over the past week, including reviewing surveillance video and conducting multiple interviews.
"Following the closure of their investigation today, the criminal applications were filed with the court this morning,” according to a press release.
Police say an 18-year-old woman was arguing with another woman and her boyfriend. Police say they have a history of not getting along.
The 18-year-old left then returned with her father to the same parking lot.
Freitas allegedly got into a fight with the other man and pushed his girlfriend away when she tried to break it up.
Freitas’ 18-year old daughter allegedly kicked the couple’s car, causing minor damage.
Police are seeking to charge her with one count of malicious destruction of property under $1,200.
"Both men sustained minor injuries and no one was hospitalized," the press release said.
Freitas said he had no comment on the incident via a phone call on Tuesday.
Town Administrator Mark Rees confirmed Freitas still holds his position with the town but referred all other questions to the police department.
The criminal applications have not formally been issued by the New Bedford District Court Criminal Clerk's Office.
If you would like a lawn sign please drop
your name and address here, or in private message, or at
Recalldanfreitas@gmail.com and 5083061669.
As a reminder, we will have volunteers at the post office and stop and shop today at 10am. If you’d like to help us gather signatures please contact us as well!
Recall Petition for Dan Freitas Reads:
For conduct unbecoming of an elected official:
*abusive treatment of fellow board members, constituents, and employees
For behavior that is disruptive to meetings
For placing personal relationships and agenda over public interest
* Town Administrator hiring
For behavior that prompted consideration of criminal charges
* July 1,2020 incident regarding alleged assault and battery)