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CTA Lawsuit Filed Against Clinton Board of Selectmen

Lawsuit asks Board of Selectmen to comply with provisions of Town Charter.

 

A message from the Clinton Taxpayers Association:

Civil action has been filed in Middletown Superior Court by the Clinton Taxpayer Association against the five-member Clinton Board of Selectmen.  The lawsuit charges the Board of Selectmen with unlawful conduct in failing to uphold the Clinton Town Charter.  

At the heart of the matter is the right of local citizens to call a town meeting and referendum vote, through the signing of a valid petition, which is a right guaranteed by the Town Charter.  When a proposed $64.7 million new school referendum passed by 40 votes in May, the CTA circulated a petition calling for a second referendum.  At every Board of Selectman’s meeting since the CTA submitted its petition, First Selectman Willie Fritz continued to prevent the Board of Selectmen from following the Charter and voting on the petition, claiming there's nothing anyone can do to stop him. 

“We're asking the Board of Selectmen to simply comply with provisions of the town charter and put the lawsuit on their agenda for discussion and a vote”, says CTA president Pam Fritz.  “Avoiding their sworn responsibilities as Selectmen will not make this lawsuit go away.  The issue now transcends a new Morgan School.  The issue is now the unlawful conduct by the Board of Selectmen by refusing to put the question on their meeting agenda — and the obvious violation of the Town Charter in not calling for a legally petitioned Town Meeting and subsequent referendum.  The CTA's Morgan Task Force  found that the Morgan School Building Committee launched into a new high school building proposal without offering residents the opportunity to investigate and discuss another viable option — upgrading the current high school."

The CTA President also expressed concern about absentee ballots not being made available to residents during the first referendum, especially seasonal taxpayer residents who would also be impacted by a hike in taxes to pay for a new school.  The CTA says that not all members of the Board of Selectmen have received copies to date of the lawsuit in which they are named, although papers were served at the selectmen’s office at Town Hall on July 10, 2012. 

“Willie Fritz has run up an unauthorized bill of almost $4,000 with Attorneys Shipman & Goodwin to fight the taxpayers and he expects the taxpayers to pay it!” further commented Pam Fritz,  “When Selectman Carol Walter, at the recent August 2nd Board of Selectmen’s meeting, specifically cited the sections of the Town Charter that the First Selectman had violated, his answer was, ‘So what are you going to do about it?’ 

"The CTA considers these actions by the First Selectman to be abusive," says CTA President Pam Fritz. "Didn't newly appointed Selectman Lynn Pinder, who is an attorney, take an oath to follow the town charter?  How can Selectman Tom Vicino, who is running for State Senate, not respect the Clinton Town Charter?  Selectman John Giannotti is also evading his responsibility by not demanding that this matter be put on the Board of Selectmen’s agenda.”

“Our citizen’s rights to petition are being denied by the First Selectman and other selectmen”, says Pamela Fritz.  “The CTA is urging taxpayers to call or contact the First Selectman and members of the Board of Selectmen and demand that they uphold the rule of law in Clinton and follow our Town Charter."

--- CTA

ClintonRes August 10, 2012 at 02:18 AM
The 'Duh' was meant to another person who probably doesn't live in town.
Jay August 10, 2012 at 08:16 AM
"rebel rousers" ? Your cannot even spit out your spite accurately.
Steve Bristol August 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM
CTA endeavors to make sure the BoS and other boards/commissions are doing what they should do...make the best use of the very least amount of OUR money, while following TOWN rules. If that makes them a 'special interest group," I say their activism is long overdue and everyone should support them. I wish they had been this active during the Clinton Landing payment fiasco, the Watts switcheroo, the Sciongay/WPCC shenanigans, and other items. Regarding taping meetings, they are public events and filming provides an ACCURATE record for people to view; I wish I had done it years ago, not to mention recording individual and small group conversations with elected officials. If CTA prevails in court and the Town Charter is ruled to allow for the petitioning they did, are you saying that judge is un-democratic (small 'd', as opposed to Democrat party)? Will the free-spenders use their kids as human shields again outside the courthouse in a "Democracy Rally" against the legal system? How about if the NF/NM group's position was defeated and they petitioned to reduce the spending request by $1000 for a re-vote? Would you consider THAT democratic? Steve
ClintonRes August 11, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Sorry, perhaps I did not come across correctly. I do in fact, like and appreciate that they are taping the meetings...as it makes it Public for all to see - a Board trying to get through the matters at hand and dealing with the respect or rather the lack of respect shown at town meetings. I just didn't like it for what it showed. Turning a BOS meeting into ‘another’ meeting is rude and unproductive for the town. But it's been very enlightening, viewing these tapes, as to what goes on in Town Hall and what they are putting up with - In this day and age, with state laws and compliance...no harassment etc. at work...thanks to whoever posted the links. With so many smart townspeople who want to be active in the community, can we work together to make this happen within budget, and with foresight for the future and with quality that will last for years? That is, if the court deems that the vote stands? You in? With us? Sighing Off, yes, sighing...as this is getting old.
Paul August 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Mr. Karr, You seem to have left out section 4.7 of the town charter which the requirements must be met for for 4.8 to apply: The first line of 4.7 is as follows:All ordinances, adopted by the Board of Selectmen, except emergency ordinances, shall be subject to overrule by referendum. All resolutions or votes of the Board of Selectmen, except those making appointments or removals or regulating exclusively the internal procedure of the Board of Selectmen, shall be subject to overrule by referendum. If the 65 million dollars was voted on ONLY by the board of selectman then the CTA petition would hold weight and probably be valid. However, it was voted on at referendum

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