September 16, 2013

Jay to vote on justice-seat elimination

JAY — In what has become a controversial issue, voters in Jay will soon decide whether they want one or two town-justice posts.

After the Jay Town Council voted to dissolve one of the town’s two justice positions, supporters of keeping both presented a valid petition for a public referendum on the change.

Residents will vote from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16. Election District 1 is at the Jay Community Center, 11 School Lane in AuSable Forks, and District 2 is at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre at 12 Parkside Drive in Jay.

A “yes” vote would eliminate one of two justice positions, while a “no” vote would retain it.


Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas said the special election, which has to be held between 60 and 75 days from the petition validation, will cost the county about $2,800.

He said the decision to reduce the number of justices was based on cost-savings for the town.

“We have consolidated positions, eliminated positions, lessened our Workers Compensation cost, liability-insurance cost and health-insurance costs,” Douglas said in an email.

The petition for a vote on the justice elimination was filed by Green Party member Fred Balzac.

Balzac said he went to the Jay Town Council's August session to learn more about the reduction, which was passed at the July 11 Town Council meeting.

“I learned not only that the question would not be on the General Election ballot, but there was a 30-day deadline for submitting the petition," he said.

“I had done some research on town law. That (law) would have allowed the town to put it on the ballot. I asked them to put it on the ballot. 

"They declined to do that at the August meeting.”


Balzac said he then stated his desire to petition for a vote.

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