RTM member explains decision made at last meeting

To the Editor:

The following is a statement to the press from Fairfield RTM Minority Leader Hal Schwartz.

I would like to set the record straight regarding the reason why RTM Democrats chose not to put a redistricting plan before the RTM at our meeting on May 20.

Prior to the RTM meeting, the town attorney advised that the RTM would violate our town charter if we voted on a plan that had not been proposed by the RTM’s Redistricting Committee.

I could not and would not advise my fellow RTM Democrats, as elected officials, to act in a way that would violate our town charter. I believed that if we did put a plan forward, we would be doing exactly that — and against the direct counsel of our town attorney. The members of my caucus agreed with me.

It was and continues to be my belief that, as elected officials, the RTM should abide by the opinion of the expert appointed to render legal advice to our town. That, too, is in our charter. To ignore the town attorney’s opinion sets a dangerous precedent.

This is not the place to re-argue the meaning of words in our charter — that discussion may still take place. It is a healthy discussion and we welcome it. If after due process, it is determined that the vote taken on May 20 was legal, I will abide by that decision, and advise my fellow Democrats to do the same.  Until and unless that happens, I and my fellow Democrats on the RTM stand firmly behind our decision to adhere to what we believe was and is our town’s law.

 

Hal Schwartz

District 7

Minority Leader

Fairfield RTM

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