Sensible Wilton threatens to sue Town of Wilton

If the Town of Wilton refuses to call a second referendum on the Miller-Driscoll school renovation project, Sensible Wilton plans to seek “judicial intervention,” a legal memo to First Selectman Bill Brennan says.
A note sent out Sunday by an official Sensible Wilton email account said the group “will commence litigation to pursue the electors’ rights as secured by the Charter” if a second vote is not called.
A letter sent by Sensible Wilton's attorney Simon W. Reiff to First Selectman Bill Brennan, asks the "Board of Selectmen to respect its legal obligations under the Town [Charter] and to submit the Petition to a vote at a Special Town Meeting so as to avoid the unnecessary escalation of this matter.”
Wilton's legal counsel, Ken Bernhard, has previously argued his client has no obligation to call a revote on a bonding issue. The Board of Selectmen is scheduled to discuss the petition tonight, Monday, May 17 at 7:30 at Town Hall.
“After a resolution is passed by the Town Meeting,” Bernhard wrote in a recent legal opinion. “the Charter... does not provide for further legislative input by the Town Meeting, by ordinance or otherwise.”
Because the “power of a municipal corporation to repeal an ordinance or resolution is… as broad as the power to enact it,” if a group of citizens does not have the right to call a bonding resolution, they do not have the right to call for the repeal of a bonding resolution, either, he wrote last week.

A 'Sensible' opinion

The recent legal memo sent by Sensible Wilton says, however, Mr. Bernhard's opinion does not represent the truth.
Reiff, the group's attorney, enumerates three areas of concern in the letter to the town:
• That town counsel wrongly concluded the Special Town Meeting's vote in September 2014 was a "resolution." Sensible Wilton argues the vote represents an ordinance which may be overturned by another Special Town Meeting.
• That town counsel overlooked the fact that Sensible Wilton seeks to exercise a Town Meeting's  express power of initiative — not an  implied  power to repeal a bond authorization.
• That the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution in no way prohibits the consideration of the proposed ordinance, and the chaos Bernhard "claims would occur in the event of a repeal is totally unfounded."


In the letter, Reiff also notes that the State Elections Enforcement Commission unanimously voted to investigate claims of electoral impropriety during the run-up to the Miller-Driscoll renovation.
That case is scheduled for executive review on Tuesday, May 19.
Calls made to the SEEC went unreturned as of Monday morning.