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Friday, January 7

Saratoga Citizen wins petition lawsuit against John Franck, appeal may require council approval

Of all the Fridays, it had to be the day I left for Boston at 1 p.m....

As you may have read at Saratogian.com, charter reform group Saratoga Citizen have won their lawsuit filed in response to Accounts Commissioner John Franck's non-certification of their petition for a charter referendum. The decision, order and judgment documents are posted below:

Saratoga Citizen v. John Franck - Decision Order and Judgment

According to those still at the office, Franck has said he has not been officially served with the documents, and will consult with counsel before proceeding with an appeal, which may or may not require a vote by the City Council.

Look for an updated story in tomorrow's print edition and online.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick
Thank you for pointing us to the document.
Judge Nolan was very clear in his ruling. There was no gray area in his ruling
It appears to be a very health decision and one we can live with.
The binding issue, the signature validation, the fiscal note were well documented and very solid legal footing.


Let the people vote! SOON

January 7, 2011 at 9:03 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOOKS GREAT!!

January 7, 2011 at 10:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish this was on the ballot in November of 2010. I would have voted for this. We need to make up for lost time. Let us vote!

January 7, 2011 at 10:11 PM 
Blogger Speaking-of-Saratoga said...

Commissioner Franck did as he was instructed... but now he will NOT dispute a sound legal decision against the City's LowLife Legal Hacks.

Still... there IS the possibility that THREE elected fools will vote to waste our dollars on a doomed appeal.

In that event, we can not empty their City Hall hideouts fast enough.

I remain confident in the Better Angels of our Elected Officials.

-Kyle York
Let The People VOTE, let The People DECIDE

January 8, 2011 at 3:34 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will Johnson, Franck and Scala come up with now to put off a plebiscite on charter reform now that Judge Nolan has upheld Saratoga Citizen's petition.

You will recall that Franck refused to certify the petition and the Council hired two law firms (each at $200 per hour) to defend the City's action. So, in effect Franck and Johnson with the consent of the other members of the Council appropriated unbudgeted tax dollars to deny us our right to petition our government.

No matter what our personal views on Charter reform, Franck and Johnson should be held accountable for their actions.

Now, presumably, Johnson will appoint a Charter Revision Commission so a vote on reform can be put off until 2012 at the earliest. And then we will only be able to vote on what his cronies give us.

Farnck and Johnson really should reimburse the taxpayers for the ill spent $ to fight the petition.

If we had a working city attorney perhaps he could have prevented this insanity.

January 7, 2011 4:48 PM

January 8, 2011 at 12:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a relief.
I am thrilled that the citizens will finally have an opportunity to vote on this. Special Election sound fine. I would rather spend money on a special election than LAWYERS
Shame on John Frank for what he has done.

January 9, 2011 at 8:18 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judge Nolan's Decision, Order and Judgement make it abundantly clear that the action taken by the City Council, at a substantial cost to the taxpayer, was totally without merit.

It is difficult (impossible) for even a layperson, having reviewed the clear language of the applicable statutes and regulations, to have concluded as did Franck that the petition could not be certified. It is equally (more) difficult to believe that Johnson (an attorney) could have honestly concluded that the petition to change the Charter was fatally flawed. And where was the city attorney, Joe Scala, in all this? How much does this guy get paid?

The bottom line seems undeniable: Franck and Johnson launched the law suit against the petition for political reasons.

In fact, a reading of Nolan's decision, makes it quite clear that Franck - in his capacity as City Clerk - failed his fiduciary responsibility to notify the petitioners -as required by law - of his concern regarding the binding of the petition sheets. Likewise, the language of the law is crystal clear on the matter of fiscal impact. And clearly it was not required.

So what we seem to have here is a renegade mayor and commissioner of accounts - aided by Gordon Boyd, Remiga Foy, Elliott Masie, et al - using our tax $ to bring an ill advised and doomed legal action against the very people and laws that they took an oath to defend and respect, And why? Follow the money.

Franck and Johnson have some tough questions to answer and it's high time the other three members of the City Council, the public and the press started to ask them.

January 9, 2011 at 2:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time to finally take control of OUR City. This community is not the private domain of John Franck, Scott Johnson, Joe Scala and their ilk.

They know, or should have known, that their challenges to the Saratoga Citizen petition were invalid and yet they refused to certify it on trumped up grounds, grounds that Judge Nolan dismissed in a way they barley hides his disdain for their actions.

Yes, Franck, as City Clerk, refused to certify the petition, but Johnson, a lawyer, and the city attorney were willing accomplices to this outrage.

This is exactly why we need a more open, balanced and transparent government with a system of checks and balances.

The City Council and the city attorney refused to "check" Franck's rather transparent attempt to improperly deny over 1,000 citizens and taxpayers their fundamental right to petition their government. They have no credibility remaining.

The language of the law that Judge Nplan references in his decision is self explanatory.

It is time to hold these people accountable regardless of our individual views on Charter reform. The other members of the Council have got to begin showing some backbone by standing up to Franck and Johnson and their surrogates.

And this is not the end. Johnson has sued his own Civil Service Commission (also costing us $200/hour in legal fees) and Sutton, the deputy mayor, is law suit waiting to happen.

January 9, 2011 at 4:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick,

Would you please ask Finance for a detailed accounting of how much has been paid to the two law firms hired by the City Council to review the petition and to defend the law suit brought after Franck refused to certify it.

Also, can ask and report on why the City Attorney - who is paid $57,000 per year plus benefits - did not represent the City Council.

This is the scandal in all this: using public money in an attempt to deny the public the right to exercise its franchise. It is inconceivable that Franck and Johnson did not know that there action would not be upheld and they must explain their actions.

January 9, 2011 at 6:27 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should go to the voters in Mid May. No more lawyers

January 10, 2011 at 3:37 PM 

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