Subverting the people’s will
Huntertown does it again – with help from a somewhat obscure state law.
Residents forced the town council to establish a separate board to oversee utilities in referendums in May and again in November.
The council could have created a seven-member utilities board, but council members – who have repeatedly thumbed their collective noses at constituents – chose the bare minimum of three members.
The law on appointed municipal utility boards states that the executive appoints a majority of members and the legislative body appoints the remainder. Towns do not have mayors, so state law designates the town board president as the executive. It should instead be the town clerk, the lone elected administrator.
So a single council member – in this case Council President Jim Fortman – will appoint two members and the remainder of the town council will appoint a grand total of one. Fortman is expected to appoint two Republicans, and the remainder of the board, a single Democrat. But a qualified Democrat has not yet been selected – so the council may decide to allow the board to convene with just two Republican members.