Bateson returns to Board of Selectmen
FAIRFIELD — Exactly one year after he lost a special election to the Board of Selectmen, Republican Edward Bateson was back on the board Wednesday following a state Supreme Court ruling.
“I’m happy to get back to work,” Bateson said. “When I was gone, I missed being involved.”
Bateson originally was appointed to the board in December 2016, when fellow Republican Laurie McArdle resigned one year into a four-year term. A group of Democrats, citing state statutes, collected petition signatures seeking a special election. But Bateson and Republican Selectman Chris Tymniak refused to set a date for a special election, and the group went to court. Bateson and Tymniak argued the town’s charter only allowed a special election if an appointment was not made within 30 days.
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sided with the plaintiffs and ordered the special election be held June 6, 2017. The election was held and Democrat Kevin Kiley easily beat Bateson at the polls and was seated on the board. Meanwhile, Bateson and Tymniak appealed the Bellis decision, which made its way to the state Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s opinion, issued two weeks ago, reversed Bellis’ decision and stated Bateson was to be restored to the Board of Selectmen.
Town Clerk Betsy Browne was on hand to once again issue the oath of office to Bateson just prior to the meeting’s start.
“I can’t say it was a pleasant experience to go through,” Bateson said, though he said he was happy with how it concluded.
Bateson said they had always said that the Board of Selectmen had always followed the practice of accepting a party’s recommendation when a vacancy occurred. In this case, he said, the Democrats departed from that practice.
“It set a bad precedent,” Bateson said. “We need to get back on track.”