BOS Republican members denying the will the of people

To the Editor:

The Republican members of the Board of Selectmen, Ed Bateson and Chris Tymniak, persist in denying the will of the people to hold a special election for Selectman on June 6.

These are the facts:

  • Laurie McCardle (R) resigned from the Board of Selectman (BOS) with almost three years left in her term.  Ed Bateson was selected by the Republican Town Committee (RTC) and then appointed by the Board of Selectmen to replace her within 30 days. This action met the requirements of the Town Charter.
  • Despite Mr. Bateson’s appointment, many felt that, with 3 years of the 4-year BOS term remaining, the people of Fairfield — not a political party — should decide who represents them as their Selectman
  • Choosing the Selectman would require a “special election.” An examination of State Statute determined that if 5 percent of Fairfield’s registered voters signed a petition calling for a special election, Fairfield voters would have the opportunity to vote for the Selectman candidate of their choice.  As such, the Fairfield Democratic Town Committee’s (DTC) Executive Board voted to petition for a special election for the Selectman seat vacated by McCardle.
  • In 6 days — with a winter storm and during Christmas week — 218 people collected 3,200 signatures: 8 percent of registered voters. Concerned for Fairfield’s excellent school system, Fairfield teachers (many of whom are also Fairfield residents) lent a hand, collecting 600 signatures. People signing included a cross-section of Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.
  • In January, Fairfield’s Town Clerk certified the signatures and set June 6th as the date for the special election.  
  • However, at a BOS meeting, Selectmen Chris Tymniak and the newly appointed Ed Bateson refused to set June 6th for the special election, despite being required to do so by law. The two Selectmen even held a BOS meeting that was not publicly noticed, during which they voted to dismiss the special election. However, because the Town Charter states that BOS meetings can only be called by the First Selectman, decisions made during the meeting were rendered moot
  • The Republican Selectmen actions forced Democrats to take the matter to court. The Court ruled in the Democrats’ favor, noting that the Town Charter and State Statute were in harmony, and that the special election must be held.  The Republicans again appealed this decision; however, this appeal to the State Supreme Court was also struck down.
  • Now we have heard that the Republicans are appealing the Supreme Court decision to the appellate level.

These actions beg the question of why the Republican Selectmen refuse to recognize the will of the people and continue to place themselves — through their actions — above the law. Furthermore, in a time of budgetary crisis, why do the Republicans continue to cost the town money through ongoing court battles?

The RTC has nominated Ed Bateson as their candidate.  The DTC has nominated Kevin Kiley, a long-standing member of the Board of Finance and Board of Selectman. We urge the Republican Selectmen to cease their delaying and obstructionist tactics by allowing the people of Fairfield to exercise their right to vote for the Selectman candidate of their choice on June 6.

Steven Sheinberg

Chairman, Fairfield DTC

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