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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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