MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) - The state Supreme Court on Friday ordered Meriden to remove the city’s corporation counsel from office.
The court, in upholding a lower court ruling, found that Michael Quinn was improperly appointed by the city council without the recommendation of Mayor Manual Santos.
Santos, a Republican, was elected mayor on Nov. 5, 2013 and took office one month later on the same day Quinn was appointed to the job by the Democrat-controlled City Council. Quinn had been the choice of the former mayor, Democrat Michael Rohde.
Attorneys for Quinn argued that according to the city charter, the council had the power to make the appointment and requiring the recommendation of the mayor would lead to “absurd and unworkable results.”
But Justice Dennis Eveleigh, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, found the charter specifically required the council to appoint an individual recommended by the mayor, while giving the council the power to remove that person from office.
“Such an approach promotes cooperation between different branches of government and is neither absurd nor unworkable,” he wrote.
Quinn said he is disappointed with the decision, but will respect it. He plans to leave office on Dec. 23, the day the ruling becomes official.
“I’m very honored and proud to have served in this position and will do all I can for the city of Meriden,” he said.
The corporation counsel and his staff serve as legal adviser to the city’s elected and appointed officials, prepares legal documents for the city and defends Meriden in court in civil cases.
Santos called the ruling a vindication and said it more clearly defines the roles of both his office and the city council.
“I think going forward we’ll have a bit more respect for each other and that respect will grow,” he said. “But certainly, this does send a clear message that the entrenched Democrat party leadership in this city can no longer operate with their own interpretation of the law.”
Santos said he and City Council agreed on all other positions, and the ruling should not have any impact on any other appointee at City Hall.
He said he already has submitted three names for council to pick from as Quinn’s successor and does not expect the job to remain vacant for long.
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