Court finds in favor of Sensible Wilton

Judge Kenneth Povodator of Connecticut Superior Court has denied the town of Wilton's motion to dismiss in the case of Sensible Wilton vs. Board of Selectmen, Town of Wilton. The judge's ruling was issued Friday, Nov. 13, and clears the way for Sensible Wilton to pursue its lawsuit against the Board of Selectmen.
Sensible Wilton filed the suit June 1, seeking a writ of temporary mandamus, to compel the selectmen to call a special town meeting to vote on whether to repeal the $50-million bonding authorization for the Miller-Driscoll school renovation. A writ of mandamus is a means by which the court may direct someone to act in a way in which they are legally obligated.
The bond authorization was narrowly approved by voters at a special town meeting and adjourned vote in September 2014. Sensible Wilton claims voters did not have complete information on the project and that town officials violated election laws leading up to the vote. It circulated a petition, signed by hundreds of residents, asking for a special town meeting to consider a revote. The Board of Selectmen denied the request.
The town's motion to dismiss claimed Sensible Wilton did not have standing to bring the lawsuit, because it was a referendum committee that should have been disbanded after the vote and the time limits for challenging the vote had expired.
Sensible Wilton claimed it was an ongoing committee, not one set up for a specific period of time.
Wilton's town meeting form of government means its electors constitute the legislative body of the town.
"A group of electors submitted a petition, assisted and/or coordinated by the plaintiff and its founders seeking to have the proposal for a new ordinance considered by way of a Special Town Meeting and subsequent vote/referendum," Povodator wrote in his decision. "At least hundreds of Town electors had signed the petition, including (inferentially) Alex Ruskewich and Curtis Noel, the individuals who formed and control the plaintiff. Those electors are being disenfranchised by the action of the defendants — or more accurately, the executive branch of the town is precluding legislative consideration of a proper ordinance by refusing to act upon a petition seeking to commence the legislative process. The defendants contend that the fact that the plaintiff rather than individual signers commenced this proceeding presents a standing-based bar to further review. That loss of the Charter-based right to submit a proposed ordinance constitutes a colorable claim of injury for each of the petition-signing electors, including Mr. Ruskewich and Mr. Noel..."