Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 18, 2013

Black petitions denied

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A pair of suggested referendums pursued by former Town Board candidate Paul Black will not make it onto the November ballot.

Town Clerk Nancy A. Brooks ruled Wednesday that Black's petitions – which called for splitting the town into four wards and enacting a new set of town board meeting bylaws – were invalid because they did not comply with election law.

Brooks found that the petitions did not contain enough valid signatures. Her decision says that the "vast majority" of the 400-or-so signatures on each petition were not accompanied by listing of the signer's town of residence, thus making the signatures invalid.

Earlier this month, Black filed the petitions to try getting referendums going. He wanted town residents to decide whether the town should be divided into four wards and town board members elected from those wards, as happens in many cities including the City of Lockport; and he also wanted residents to decide whether to set some new rules for town board meetings. Black proposed town meeting bylaws including: all board meetings, regular and work sessions, would be held during evening hours only; board votes on business would take place at the regular meetings only; and punitive measures by the board — such as barring a resident from addressing the board — would be limited to a single meeting.

Brooks' ruling could be challenged in an Article 78 proceeding in New York State Supreme Court.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.