NEWTON, NJ — The petitioners have filed a civil action suit through the Superior Court of New Jersey, in hopes that a judge will overturn the Newton Town Council’s rejection of the petition and stop the need for a special election.
The case will go in front of the Hon. Stuart A Minkowitz, A.J.S.C Superior Court of New Jersey, on Wednesday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m. at the Morris County Court House located on Washington and Court Streets in Morristown.
According to one of the documents submitted in the suit filed, the five petitioners; Dr. Ludmilla G. Mecaj, Suzanne M. Kimble, William R. Kimble, Barbara J Morris. And Neil L Morris, are looking to stop the special election slated for July 31:
“We believe it is in the town’s best interest to let a judge determine if this referendum should be placed on ballot in November as our original petition intended.”
The petitioners have filed the suit for a request for an “order to show cause” with the reasoning being that “an improper referendum date has been chosen for July 31. We ask that an injunction be placed until this case is decided,” according to documents submitted in the suit.
The complaint specifically states the petitioners as the plaintiffs and the defendants as Newton Town; the Governing Body of the town of Newton and Lorraine A Read in her capacity as the Newton Town Clerk, Sussex County.
Details of the court filing:
“WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, the committee of Petitioners, respectfully requests the entry of an order:
- Declaring that the plaintiffs’ Faulkner Act Referendum Petition to initiate Ordinance 12-2018 be certified as ‘sufficient’, as the Mayor/Council considered and passed judgment on the petition without having declared the petition illegal, and directing the Town Clerk to submit said petition and referendum to the voters as the petitioners’ legislative ‘bill’ (the petition) directed (for a November 6, 2018 referendum date) or return the petition to the Mayor/Council for proper consideration that is devoid of influence from an improperly introduced clashing, competing ordinance”
The plaintiffs have stated three points in their legal argument which was included in their preliminary statement that they filed on July 23.
“Point I: N.J.S.A. 40:69A-192 acknowledges that the petitioners, not the politicized government opposition, have the right to control when a referendum for initiation shall be scheduled.
Point II: NJ Supreme Court has stated that the referendum statue in the Faulkner Act should be liberally construed to promote the beneficial effects of voter participation and only the plaintiffs’ actions, not the defendants’ actions, conform to this policy.
Point III: Defendants have presented no public emergency to deprive the petitioners and public petitioned for demand for a high voter turnout, no-cost referendum on the general Election Day of November 6, 2018.”
Ursula Leo, the town of Newton’s attorney replied “no comment” when asked about the action filed with the NJ Superior Court.
The judge’s decision will be made after the hearing on Wednesday, July 25, which is currently scheduled for 10:30 a.m.