Judge sets June 6 as date for Fairfield special election
Updated 10:10 am, Thursday, March 23, 2017
FAIRFIELD — A Superior Court judge has set June 6 as the date for a special election for the seat vacated by Republican Selectman Laurie McArdle last December.
Judge Barbara Bellis issued the date late Thursday, after the two sides in the election dispute could not come to an agreement. “It’s a shame you just can’t agree on the date,” Bellis told attorney James Baldwin, representing the Board of Selectmen, and Selectmen Chris Tymniak and Ed Bateson, both Republicans. Joel Green and William Burke represented the five plaintiffs, and First Selectman Mike Tetreau was represented by Robert Mirron.
The five took the town to court when Tymniak and Bateson refused to set a date for the special election, after Democrats collected the requisite number of petition signatures. They argued the town charter doesn’t allow for a special election, since the vacancy was filled by appointment within 30 days.
While the Democrats were pushing for a date in early June and were willing to move it to June 13, Baldwin first wanted a date in August, and then asked for July 11.
State statutes call for a special election to be held within 150 days of certification of the petition signatures, and Town Clerk Betsy Browne called for the election to be held June 6.
Baldwin, however, argued that if the vacancy had occurred that day, the election wouldn’t be held until the middle of the summer.
Green said they wanted to have the election when turnout would be the highest.
Bellis is expected to issue a ruling Monday on a motion from Baldwin seeking an expedited review by the state Supreme Court.
“Despite obstruction tactics the judge ordered that the special election be held on June 6,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Steven Sheinberg said. “The rule of law will be enforced by the court and in the special election, the people will decide who fills the remaining term of the selectman.”
Sheinberg called on Bateson and Tymniak to “immediately drop their appeal and follow the rule of law and the will of the voters.”