Love Your Library Coalition Files Lawsuit in Superior Court to Force Narragansett Town Council to Accept Voter Initiative Petition

The Love Your Library Coalition filed a lawsuit in Washington County Superior Court on Friday (WC-2019-0137) asking the Court to force the Narragansett Town Council to follow the clear wording of the Town Charter and accept a properly worded voter initiative submitted by library champion Susan Cicilline Buonanno.

The petition, crafted following the guidelines set forth in the Town Charter, was submitted on February 21st and would prohibit the town from selling the Belmont/IGA Property, purchased in 2018 to be the library’s new home, without approval from the voters.

At their Monday, March 18th public meeting, the Narragansett Town Council chose to ignore the plain language of the Town Charter and rejected the two voter initiatives submitted by Susan Cicilline Buonanno. In response, the Coalition is going to Court on the Resolution and is resubmitting their other petition – a bond ordinance – to the town clerk today in revised form.

“On behalf of Susan and the Love Your Library Coalition, I have filed suit in Superior Court asking the Court to declare that Susan’s petition is ‘VALID’ so that the democratic process of collecting signatures may begin,” said the Coalition's attorney, Matthew Jerzyk, of William A. Farrell and Associates. “According to the Town Charter, voter initiatives may be used to -- ‘enact and/or rescind town laws, regulations, ordinances and resolutions’ -- and that is precisely what this initiative would do: it would enact a resolution.”

“It is disappointing we have to go to court to force our Town Council to follow the clear will of Narragansett voters who overwhelmingly supported a 2016 bond referendum to move our library into a modern new space in the Pier Marketplace,” said Nancy DeNuccio, President of the Love Your Library Coalition. “Since a few members of the Council simply refuse to allow this important project to move forward, we have been forced to use the town’s voter initiative process. Even then, the Council tries to deny this opportunity to let the people speak through the democratic process. This is an abuse of power and why we are forced to take this action in court.”