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Justices rule that law allows town of Fishers to proceed with reorganization

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Responding to a certifiable question from Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the Indiana Supreme Court held that the town of Fishers may proceed with plans to reorganize as a city whose council chooses a mayor.

In Michael R. Kole, Joseph L. Weingarten, and Glenn J. Brown, et al. v. Scott Faultless, Daniel Henke, Eileen Pritchard, Stuart Easley, et al., No. 94S00-1112-CQ-692, Pratt asked the Supreme Court whether a political unit may reorganize into a city under Indiana Code 36-1.5, the Reorganization Act, in a manner that eliminates voting rights recognized under I.C. 36-4-5-2 and 36-4-6-3(i), including reorganization as a city with a council elected entirely at large; and a mayor appointed by that council.

On May 3, 2010, about 1,700 citizens of the town of Fishers – the plaintiffs among them – filed a petition with the Fishers town clerk seeking a referendum on whether the town should convert itself from a town into a second class city. Under the standard structure for second class cities as set out in Article 4 of Title 36 of Indiana code, citizens directly elect a city mayor for the city, plus six city council members from legislative districts and three more at large.

On May 5, 2010, two days after receiving the petition, the Fishers Town Council passed a resolution proposing a reorganization with Fall Creek Township. The resolution called for a commission to study the possibility of merging the two entities into a reorganized city. The authority for such a merger is the Government Modernization Act, a recently enacted statute that appears as Article 1.5 of Title 36. As proceedings on the town council’s proposal moved forward, the plaintiffs’ petition did not. The plaintiffs filed suit in Hamilton Superior Court on Sept. 30, 2010, seeking to compel the Fishers Town Council to schedule their petition for a referendum. They voluntarily dismissed that suit and refiled in U.S. District Court on Dec. 30, 2010.

On Dec. 20, 2010, the Fishers Town Council and the township held a public meeting during which both entities adopted the final reorganization plan. A referendum on the reorganization plan will occur in the November 2012 general election. On Feb. 21, 2011, the Town Council passed a resolution acknowledging the plaintiffs’ petition to incorporate the Town of Fishers into a second class city. The resolution further ordered a referendum on that proposal in the next general election, the same election in which residents would vote on the reorganization plan.

The Supreme Court wrote that the centerpiece of the plaintiffs’ contention is perhaps that the Town Council’s reorganization plan strips them of their chance to vote for a mayor, who is typically the executive head of a second class city.

The justices wrote that in light of the Legislature’s directives about construing the Act’s provisions, Article 1.5 does allow a municipality to reorganize into a city even though the reorganization plan provides for a city council elected at large and a city mayor appointed by the city council. If citizens approve a reorganization plan that describes the membership of new political branches and the manner in which those members will attain office, then the reorganization may proceed along those lines.

 

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  • Fishers
    Another example of politicians feeding at the public trough who don't want to give up their power. People are fighting & dying around the world to bring democracy to their countries like we supposedly have here. Not in Fishers.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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