From the CTA:
When Willie Fritz announced at the end of the Board of Selectmen meeting on Wednesday, that he was unilaterally cancelling the Town meeting called for June 26, the school supporters cheered. “Does anyone care that this is against the law?” asks Pam Fritz, President of the Clinton Taxpayers Association (CTA).
Michael Wells on behalf of the Clinton Town Counsel stated clearly and unequivocally in his legal opinion letter dated June 11, 2012 to Willie Fritz (no relation to Pam Fritz), Clinton’s First Selectman, “that the petition as worded is valid” and that “The Board of Selectmen should schedule a special town meeting to consider this resolution.”
The First Selectman then proceeded to sign and to have the other four Selectmen sign the call to a Town Meeting for June 26. This was his legal duty and he complied. But under unrelenting political pressure from a pro school group, he backtracked and circumvented the Town Counsel, the Board of Selectmen, State Statute and the Town Charter. “According to CTA’s attorney, what First Selectman Fritz did is plain and simple against the law,” relayed Ms. Fritz.
The issue of the Morgan school, the petition or the Town Meeting nowhere appeared on the agenda of this Selectman’s meeting. As such, even raising it, outside of visitors’ comments, during the business of the meeting, violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Section 1-225 (d).
Mr. Fritz read an opinion of counsel from an attorney at Shipman and Goodwin, a firm the Board of Selectmen had never authorized him to engage and whose opinion without Town Counsel’s validation holds no standing. How the First Selectman came by that opinion is a subject that the CTA will be investigating through an official FOIA request. There should be a letter of engagement or other related documents from either the Town of Clinton or the Board of Education.
The First Selectman has no authority to unilaterally overrule a legal notice that he and the other Selectmen signed and published. “The CTA will not surrender to these tactics so long as we have community’s moral and financial support,” explains Ms. Fritz, “The CTA has raised thousands of dollars that enabled us to engage legal counsel and to press our case and our cause, legally. We are grateful to our generous and growing base of supporters who understand that a small contribution now can save them thousands in unnecessary taxes later.”
The First Selectman’s actions are expected to galvanize CTA supporters. The CTA will continue to defend the legal right to protest Town business when it is not conducted legally and fairly.
--- the CTA