Supreme Court decision on Fairfield’s special election pending

FAIRFIELD — It’s all over now, except for the waiting.

The Connecticut Supreme Court last week heard arguments from both sides in the case of the special Board of Selectmen election that was held last June.

“Based on the insightful nature of the many questions asked, our hopes were buoyed that the court will issue a decision based on the rule of law and the town’s charter rather than the golden rule of politics - support thy party,” Attorney James Baldwin, who represents Selectman Chris Tymniak and Edward Bateson, both Republicans, said. Baldwin also ostensibly represents the town and the board, although that has been in dispute.

“We answered all their questions with sound legal principles whereas the plaintiffs were clearly at a loss for words and logic when trying to answer certain pointed questions that go to the heart of the appeal,” Baldwin said.

The court case centers on whether the voters had a right to petition for a special election since Bateson was appointed within 30 days to replace Laurie McArdle, a fellow Republican. McArdle resigned in December of 2016, one year into a four-year term. Bateson was appointed by Tymniak and First Selectman Mike Tetreau, a Democrat, as per the charter.

However, a group of Democrats, citing state statutes that reference the term of such an appointment, collected enough signatures to force a special election. The issue ended up in court when Tymniak and Bateson refused to scheduled the election. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ordered the election held on June 6, 2017, and Democrat Kevin Kiley handily beat Bateson.

Baldwin seeks to have the election results voided.

“The court asked both sides tough questions,” William Burke, one of the attorneys for the Democrats, said, “and then, as is customary, adjourned without announcing a decision.”

Baldwin said they were hoping for a decision on an expedited basis, but one of the justices who unable to be there and will have to listen to the audio recording.

“No decision is likely for several weeks, perhaps months,” Burke said.