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.



  • 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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.