A lawsuit filed in Jessamine Circuit Court on Wednesday, Oct. 24, alleges that the questions on the Nov. 6 general election ballot regarding Nicholasville’s form of government is illegal.
The lawsuit was filed by Jesse D. Willis and The Committee Against Big Government and Wasteful Spending, which was filed by Nicholasville attorney David Marshall, against Perry W. Barnes, chairman of the Petition Committee for election to reorganize form of government.
The crux of the lawsuit revolves around the public question that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, which asks, “Are you in favor of the proposal to change from the current commission form of government to mayor-council-ward form of government for the city of Nicholasville?”
The lawsuit asks that the judge rules the issue “null, void, and of no force and effect,” if the mayor-council-ward proposal receives the majority on election night.
In it, Willis claims that he was not fully informed regarding the legal force and effect of the petition he signed in May 2012.
Willis and The Committee Against Big Government and Wasteful Spending agrees that the public questions are authorized by state statues, but the contest breaking down the city of Nicholasville into wards, saying that can only be done by the legislative body.
According to Kentucky Revised Statute 83A.100, “The legislative body of a city may by ordinance divide the city into the same number of wards as the number of legislative body members.”
KRS 83A.160 governs the rules regarding a change of government. That statute states, “Change in form of government permitted by popular vote only. (1) Any city may become organized and governed under the mayor-council plan, the commission plan or the city manager plan only by popular vote in accordance with KRS 83A.120.”
Gary Goldey, chairman of The Committee Against Big Government and Wasteful Spending, said said how the question is worded makes it illegal.
“You can ask for it to go to a mayor-council form of government, but you can’t say what style; that’s up to the legislative body of the city to do that,” Goldey said.
Barnes said the lawsuit was baseless.
“It’s frivolous and unsubstantiated and we will be responding to it,” Barnes said.
He went on to say that the wording on the ballot is legal, and if the measure is passed on Nov. 6, the city commission, as it will be known until January 2014, will have to adhere to the wishes of the voters.
“It’s approved by the people, but it is established by the legislative body,” Barnes said. “The legislative body has to do the actual mechanics of redistricting.”