Bill Strom resigning!

As reported by Kirk Ross of the Carrboro Citizen on OP and on the CC site, Chapel Hill Town Councilmember Bill Strom has announced that he will be resigning as of August 1, and will be leaving the area.

The interesting political implication is that I think the Council will now be expected to appoint a replacement since this resignation did not happen within the 40-day window before an election candidate filing period which would have led to an automatic appointment of the 5th vote-getter. Am I getting this right? Help us out Gerry... (Thanks for the correction, Fred and Mark.)

There had been some rumbling about this for weeks when Bill failed to step in to the mayor's race after having made no secret of his ambitions for several years.  Anyone know what he's doing next?  I wonder if his wife Jen Strom will also be leaving her position at the Independent Weekly? (I know this is verging on gossip, but this wil have a big impact on our community.)

Here is Bill's statement as published on the Carrboro Citizen web site:

After a decade of service on the Chapel Hill Town Council, the time has come for me to move on in my life’s commitments and challenges. I am resigning my council position as of Aug. 1, 2009, to pursue other personal and professional opportunities outside the community.

Serving as a council member in Chapel Hill has been a great honor, and I am deeply thankful for my fellow citizens’ trust and confidence in electing me three times.

Over the past 10 years, we have made much progress in addressing the goals I set out when I first sought elected office in 1999, after many years as a grassroots activist in Chapel Hill and Orange County.

My council colleagues and I have made decisions that consistently consider the entire community and protect the environment, support community based commerce and advocate for the interests of our friends and neighbors who are in need of economic support. We have assumed a national leadership position on environmental planning and land use policy. Investments we’ve made in public transportation have paid dividends in the town’s livability. We have expanded public infrastructure from recreation facilities to cutting-edge town operations. We have integrated comprehensive energy consumption reforms, emissions reductions and green building practices throughout town government. Relations with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the local business community have evolved from often-contentious to more collaborative efforts.

We have transformed our policies on both public and affordable housing, setting Chapel Hill up as a national model of which we can be proud. Our acquisition of open space ensures us a sustainable future and creates certainty that we will continue to embrace the environment. Public investments in downtown assure a bright future for the heart of our community, and encourage private dollars to flow toward its revitalization. Our town finances have been carefully managed, with no tax increases in four of the last six years, low debt ratios and more than adequate reserves. Community support for our bonds and public investments has been central to many of our approaches to public policy, and I wish to thank the community for embracing the importance of investing in our future together.

Chapel Hill’s current leaders are in a great position to continue moving our community forward in a progressive manner, and I wish them much success.

I will miss BIll's hard work on a wide range of issues including public transportation, affordable housing, and UNC growth. He has left quite a stamp on Chapel Hill in the past 10 years.

Issues: 

Total votes: 285

Comments

Mark Chilton remembers initiating that amendment in 1995 to make it three days before filing endshttp://www.orangepolitics.org/2009/07/and-so-it-begins-filing-officially-starts-today#comment-8280PART 2. TOWN OF CHAPEL HILLFILLING OF CERTAIN VACANCIESSec. 4.  Section 2.4(2) (Section 2.3(2) under local revision pursuant to G.S. 160A-496) of the Charter of the Town of Chapel Hill, being Chapter 473, Session Laws of 1975, as amended by Section 1(2), Chapter 693, Session Laws of 1979, and as rewritten by Chapter 1107 of the Session Laws of 1979 reads as rewritten:

"(2)      A vacancy occurring on the council, which occurs during the period beginning with the first day of the four year term of office and ending [on the fortieth day prior to the next regular biennial town election ] three days before the end of the filing period for that office as provided by the General Statutes shall be filled by appointment of the town council only until the next general municipal election at which time a member shall be elected to the remainder of said unexpired term.  The candidate receiving the fifth highest number of votes (and if necessary the 6th, 7th and 8th highest number) following those elected for full four-year terms, shall be declared elected for the remainder of the unexpired term.  A vacancy occurring on the council, which occurs at any other time shall be filled by appointment of the town council for the remainder of the unexpired term."

We made this change because Joe Herzenberg's resignation in September 1993 caused an election that had been expected to be a pick-4 race to suddenly become a pick-5 race - AFTER the filing deadline had passed.  At the time the CH Town Council felt that some candidates who might have run in a five seat race had sat out, expecting it to be a four seat race.  So we changed the cutoff to 3 days before filing ends so that potential candidates would have 3 days to make up their minds.

Actually, it is a bit more complicated -- the 40 day rule was put in the charter in the mid 1970s when filing closed just 35 days before the election.  Sometime in the 1980s the filing period for ALL municipalities in the the State was changed from ending in late September to ending in late August (then in the 90s it was moved to July).  The charter stayed at 40 day cutoff and should have been changed back when the filing period moved earlier. Mark's 1995 suggestion to tie it to the filing period meant we no longer had to keep up with repeated changes in the filing period made by my bosses.    The 1975 amendment to make it 40 days was actually an improvement -- prior to that the general law was that all vacabcies for all municipal offices across the state were filled for the remainder of the term by appointment, even if that was 47 months. Chapel Hill decided to require mid term elections, but the goal was always to tie it to just before the end of filing.

1993 was the year that two seats opened through resignation, Herzenberg's and Roosevelt Wilkerson's. Jim Protzman won a seat in 5th place and Pat Evans won in 6th place.

Yes.

From: Ralph Karpinos Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 3:50 PMTo: BILL STROM; Ed Harrison; J Ward; Jim Merritt; Jim Ward; Kevin Foy; Laurin Easthom; Mark Kleinschmidt; Matt Czajkowski; Sally GreeneCc: Roger Stancil; Catherine Lazorko; Carol AbernethySubject: Council vacancy This information has been provided to one news reporter in response to Council Member Strom’s announcement.Carol, please share this information with all candidates for Town office.Ralph_________________________________________________________________________   Council Member Bill Strom’s term of office is scheduled to run until December, 2011.  He has resigned effective August 1, 2009.   The procedures for filling a vacancy on the Chapel Hill Town Council are established by Town Ordinance.  (See Chapter 2, Article 2 of the Town Code.) Under the provisions of the Town Code, a vacancy occurring at this time is subject to being filled by the Town Council for the remainder of the unexpired term of Council Member.  (Sec. 2-24 of the Town Code)  (In order for a vacancy to be filled by the Town Council only until this fall’s election, it would have had to occur three days before the end of the filing period for candidates for this fall’s municipal elections. (Sec. 2-24 of the Town Code; Chapter 339, 1995 Session Laws))  The first step in the process for filling a vacancy is for the Mayor to announce, at the next Town Council meeting, that there is a vacancy.  (Sec. 2-25 of the Town Code) The Council at this same meeting is required to set a deadline for applications for the vacant seat.  Notice of the vacancy is to be published within 7 days of the Mayor’s announcement and the deadline for applying is to be 7-30 days after the notice is published.   At the first meeting held after the deadline for submitting applications, nominations may be made from those applying.  At the next Council meeting at least 6 days after nominations have been made, the Council may make an appointment.  (Sec. 2-27 of the Town Code) If an appointment is not made at that meeting, the Code requires the Council to consider the vacancy at each subsequent meeting.  (Sec. 2-28 of the Town Code)  No specific deadline is established for when the vacancy must be filled. The Town Council’s procedures for filling a vacancy spelled out in the Town Code are established pursuant to the provisions of the Town Charter.  These procedures have been followed for filling vacancies and were last modified in 1995, by Sec. 4.1 of Chapter 339 of the 1995 North Carolina Session Laws and Town Ordinance 95-9-11/O-4. _______________    For information on the vacancy procedure followed after the death of Council Member Bill Thorpe, see agenda item 12 on October 15, 2008 and Town Week Notices Oct. 19 and 26, 2008.  These are available at the Town website. 

I'd like to say that it has been a real pleasure to work with Bill Strom for many years now and I will miss his leadership of environmental and social issues in general and on public transportation in particular.  I am glad Bill is doing the right thing for his family and career, but I am sorry that Orange County will be losing his leadership and insight on the issues facing our community.  Good luck, Bill.

Bill Strom has served this community and our region extremely well and with a lot of energy.  He will take a lot of experience with him and others will have to fill the void.Even when we disagreed on issues, we could still sit down and talk about it. It's too bad that such discussions are not so common in today's political environment.  I wish Bill had let the voters of CH fill that seat, but as I always told my students, don't get frustrated because politicians act politically!Best of luck, Bill.

I was privileged to have the opportunity to work with Bill Strom before I graduated from UNC through the Town Council internship program.  While I wish we had had more time to see our project (a budget study on parks and recreation / library funding) further along, I really valued the chance to get to work with, and learn from him.  Whether or not you agreed with him on every issue, Bill was nothing if not a principled leader.  His deep knowledge of the history and details of local policy will be sorely missed.  With Bill leaving the Council, not only the town but the entire region will be losing a tireless advocate for a huge range of issues, from transit to the environment to affordable housing.I haven’t talked to Bill personally in several months now, but as I understand from those who have, it sounds like he is making the right choice for his family.  I wish him the best of luck in future endeavors.

Bill has been a great councilmember. I thank him for everything he has done for our town and the region.  I know how many hours he has put in to serve us.   While I am disappointed that he didn't run for mayor, I wish his family and him the best for their future. 

I join everyone else in thanking Bill for all he has done for Chapel Hill.  I've had several occasions to work with Bill and I know how much work went into his service to the Town.  He has shown great leadership as a Council member and a true love of the community he served.  I wish him and his family the best in whatever the future holds for them.

Ditto to what has already been said.   I think whatever community welcomes Bill as its newest resident will soon find that he will be an invaluable addition to the citizenry.  Best wishes, Bill.

I don't want to rain on everybodys parade and maybe he was a good guy otherwise, I don't know, but from what I read in the paper it sounds like he waited until it was too late to put his seat up for election before he resigned. First of all he last ran less than two years ago.  Sometimes people go from having no plans of moving to moving in less than two years but I think that plenty others have  an idea that it might happen. If that's true in his case then he either shouldn't have ran in 2007 or else he should have ran while telling voters that he might not serve out his term. But even if he didn't know back in 2007, I find it very doubtful he didn't know before a few weeks ago when his spot still could been put on the ballot.  The N&O says he sold his house last month.   I get the impression he decided to have his seat filled by the town council instead of by voters.  If so, that's just plain bad.

It does seem that the timing was such that Mr. Strom didn't want voters to decide who would fill his seat.  There was a similar situation with Judge Coleman, who ran for his judgeship knowing  he would not serve out his term and that an appointment process rather than a election would fill his seat. So much for VOE.

I don't know Bill Strom. But the timing of his resignation seems purely Machiavellian - ie the ends of a "good" representative justify the means of circumventing an election. I've heard rumors he was leaving the area for a while and that's why he didn't run for mayor.  Is it really conceivable that he did anything other than time this so that there would be an appointed seat instead of an elected one?  Maybe there was a late breaking family emergency but I haven't read anything about that.  Appointed seats can be argued a legitimate necessity sometimes - like in Carrboro when 2 Aldermen ran for mayor.  I'm not sure if that was the right thing to do then either, but it is a legtimate discussion.  This isn't anything close to that.  It's wrong. Period.  It's amazing to me there's not more outrage about it on orange politics and elsewhere.  Frankly, it's exactly the sort of situation that makes people cynical about politics and therefore tune it out. (which is probably why there's not much outrage.  It's politicians being politicians.  Shocking.) Sad, really, in a town that I'm sure fancies itself a bastion of democratic values. But perhaps I'm missing something.  If Bill Strom has given a plausible explanation for this timing then I'd love to hear it.David Beck

I think the more relevant question now is what the current Council chooses to do about the mess he left.  Given that 5 of them are up for election in November, I'm sure it is heavy on their minds as well.  Praises to Jim Merritt for stating what he wants to do very quickly.

Gimme a break!  Bill Strom served us well for 9 1/2 years of his life.  Now several of you are ready to castigate him for this one act?  May I suggest "Thanks Bill for your service". 

Joe as I suspect that you know, when you dwell in the political environment you have to be willing to accept the praise and the criticism.  After asking the voters to elect him three times, I'm sure you can understand people reacting to an action that says those same voters won't be allowed to elect his replacement. Until they learn something different, many feel that it didn't have to be this way. And I think that you also understand that silence lets others fill the information void - Politics 101.

Nobody is castigating his 9 years for one act.  But they are castigating the one act, and deservedly so as far as we know now.

It would yield a much more representative candidate than the system we currently have. I suspect Bill, in part, is trying to be true to the voters that elected him.

Someone else in this thread said that Strom resigning when he did is what makes people cynical about politicians, or hate politicians, or something like that, and he's right but in addiition to that, this post is one (of many...definitely not just this) reason why people don't like politics.  Are we to infer that you think the electorate of CH two years ago would prefer Strom serve two years and then determine how his two-year successor was selected rather than serve two years and then have the people elect his successor?  I mean, in 2007 everybody (with the possible exception of Strom himself) expected Strom to serve out his term.  I bet nobody expected him to leave mid-term but purposely wait until it was too late in 2009 for voters to elect his successor.

Having resigned from the Chapel Hill Town Council myself, I can tell you that decisions like that are much more complicated than they are made out.  My decision and its timing had absolutely nothing to do with how my vacancy was filled. In fact, it was totally irrelevant to me how my vacancy was filled. It was after six years in office, not after three weeks in office.  I agree, cut Bill some slack.In any cases, appointments oft times bring people into government who might have found it hard to get elected. The first black officeholders in many jurisidictions were those appointed to office.  Perhaps consideration in this appointment should be to someone MUCH younger than the average age of the current council.

Especially since it is only a 2 year remaining term, might be ideal spot for a great student...

It's nice that you folks are deciding amongst yourself who the Town Council replacement for Strom should be but it would be even nicer if the people that decided on his replacement were, oh I don't know, perhaps the voters of Chapel Hill?

Perhaps it would be "nicer" if the voters chose the replacement, but that isn't the law. As others have pointed out, the General Assembly decided that the other council members would make the decision.

It might be worth remembering that if the Town Council appoints someone to fill the rest of Bill Strom's term it will be eight elected officials doing what they were elected to do: helping to run the Town (obviously the Town Manager and Staff do that but the Council provides the guidance).  Filling that vacancy will be only one of the many responsibilities they have to carry out, including keeping the Town running in a down economy, retaining important social services in light of severe cuts by the State and County, trying to stimulate economic growth, etc..  We elected these people to do these jobs.  Filling a vacancy is one of these jobs but it isn't the only one and perhaps it isn't even the most important one.  We have a lot of other important and critical problems facing us right now.

it would be seven elected and one appointed doing what they took an oath to do.

Bill Strom is getting a lot of praise here and fair enough and good for him. Like I said, I don't know him. But I think he's earned some criticism too.  If I was a Chapel Hill voter I'd be upset and if I was a councilmemeber I'm not sure I'd appreciate being put into this bind. And while appointees may bring in better people than elections, but they really are to be avoided as much as reasonable, which is something that could have easily been accomplished in this instance. 

Michael Jackson was never a creep; and Bill Strom was never a jerk to petitioners and fellow council members.

Can we focus on what will matter going forward--how the vacancy is filled?    All this discussion about Strom's motives   is just making up stories about something that has already happened, won't change, and doesn't have to matter moving forward anyway.     Even if Strom WAS trying to control how his replacement is picked, the remaining council members hold the final say in that,  not Strom.   They CAN do something different if they want.  They make the rules, they can change the rules.    We should ask them to go on record before the election about their position on this matter, since many of them are up for re-election and we should know before we vote what their intention is.   I  will not vote for  any council member running for re-election who will not go on record about  how they will go about selecting the replacement.  I would encourage everyone else to consider that too.   I want to see the fifth place finisher be awarded the seat, or I want to see the rule changed before the election to allow voters to pick 5 for the fall election.      

Op-ed in this week's Carrboro Citizen on how not to fill the Strom vacancy:http://carrborocitizen.com/main/2009/08/06/there’s-no-such-thing-as-fifth-place/

I've always been puzzled by the suggestion that the person who lost the election but had the highest number of votes among those who lost should be appointed.  If Kevin Foy were to resign today, a parallel would be to appoint Kevin Wolff because he was the next highest vote getter in 2007.

It is not always appropriate to appoint the runner up when a resignation occurs outside of an election schedule, but in those rare moments when an election is coming up, logic and fair play would seem to make it the right choice. To do otherwise seems disingenuous. Remember: most council members (such as Strom himself) only weeks ago argued passionately for public financing of elections. We were told this was to better support fair and more inclusive elections. To circumvent this now, at this point in time, so close to an election and on the heels of this recent council vote is just wrong. 

It's not like that at all because when people voted in 2007 they didn't think that Kevin Foy would resign whereas everybody knows about the vacant council seat now.  And also it's not like that because there were only two candidates running for one seat (mayor) whereas now there are what...nine running for four council seats?  The loser in a two person race doesn't beat anyone but the 5th place finisher for council in November will have beated four people.  It would be analagous to 2007 if there were several candidates running for mayor in 2007 and if in that campaign everybody knew that a certain candidate was going to resign during his term if he won.  Except that if everybody knew that such a candidate was going to resign before his term was up he would never have won in the first place.  And neither would have Bill Strom if people knew he was going to resign. I've been meaning to write a rebuttal to show why the Carrboro Citizen editorial doesn't hold water but I haven't gotten around to it.  Perhaps tomorrow night.

The loser in a two person race doesn't beat anyone but the 5th place finisher for council in November will have beat four people.

The 5th place finisher for council lost the election. I don't have any aversion to appointing the 5th place finisher to a vacancy, but neither do I think that person should have any expectation of being appointed when they lost. They should be considered along with everyone else including the 6th place finisher, etc. 

 And also it's not like that because there were only two candidates running for one seat (mayor)

So if there were three candidates for Mayor the second place finisher should be appointed because they got more votes than one of the other candidates that lost?

There are several points to make re. this.  First of all, the example the Carrboro Citizen used, with three people running for one seat, was the most extreme case possible.  If voters could choose two people in their example, there'd only be two people for that second vote to be given to.  But in the CH council race, there are nine people running for four seats.  If people were allowed to choose five candidates on their ballot instead of four, then there'd be five people (numbers 5 thru 9 on a particular ballot) for that 5th vote to be spread amongst.  That means that the people that end up 5 thru 9 in the final voting would each get fewer additional votes if voters were allowed to vote for a 5th candidate on the ballot and therefore it'd be less likely to make a difference.  Also consider this.  Voters can vote for up to four candidates.  But some people decide to vote for three or less.  So those people are completely franchised even if the top 5 vote-getter are taken for the council instead of the top 4.  Also, some people that vote for four would still vote for four even if they were allowed to vote for five.  So those people are also completely franchised even if the top 5 vote-getters are taken for the council instead of the top 4.  It is only those people that vote for four but would vote for five if they could that this whole issue is even relevant.  And as I said above, those people would have five candidates (numbers 5 thru 9) to spread their votes amongst and so any single candidate would be unlikely to be greatly helped. And also consider this.  Taking the top 5 instead of the top 4 even though people can only vote for four isn't a great idea, but it doesn't have to be a great idea to be the best idea, rather it just has to be a better idea than the alternative.  The Carrboro Citizen conveniently forgets to mention that.  The alternative at this point is to permit CH council to elect a permanent member when  a member of CH council apparently pulled shennanigans in order to have CH council determine who gets the seat rather than voters. Did other CH council members know such shennanigans were going on?  Even if it is decided against putting the 5th place finisher in the election in November on CH council for two years, then why not have the new council elected in November (which will be a more updated reflection of voter will than the current council) elect the council member?  If we must have another council member for the next few months then we could appoint a temporary member until after the election in November.It is unseemly for a council member to purposely manipulate the way his replacement is selected and then to have so many people respond with, basically "Okay, no problem, that's fine."  What is being done is technically legal but downright sleazy from a common sense fairness standpoint.  It's exactly the sort of thing that makes people cynical. Lastly, the most obvious resolution to this situation is to simply allow voters in November to vote for five candidates on the ballot instead of four.  I assume the reason nobody has suggested this so far is that it's not legal or feasible.

I'm puzzled by some people's aversion to appointing the 5th place finisher from the general election. When a resignation comes well outside of an election cycle, then by all means, council appointment makes sense. But that is not what happened in this instance. Although I did not know that Mr. Strom was selling his house, it appears that many others in the know did. To them, this was not a surprise. Here the timing suggests that the system is being gamed. Even if it's being gamed for the noblest of reasons, it's wrong to game it. Sure we can do it because "that's how politics is played," but we should aspire to a better yardstick than that. If, as is reported, and I have no way of knowing if it is true or not, Mr. Strom wanted to assure that his seat went to an under-represented constituency, then he, and, I might add, the outgoing mayor, could have sought out an appropriate candidate, convinced them to run, and offered to give them solid endorsements (and those endorsements mean a lot in Chapel Hill). Then let the voters decide. Sure, there is a risk of having the seat go to someone else, but why not, especially after the recent push for public financing whose purpose, the voters were told, was to do precisely this? I disagree with this particular choice Bill Strom made. I hope other council members will have the wherewithal to support the appointment of the fifth place finisher. I remain grateful for Bill Strom's nine years of exemplary service. 

Does anybody know where he went? 

To you who support appointing the fifth place finisher to a two year seat, I ask:  Are you happy with an eight-person town council from now until the first week in December?

The election is Nov. 3d.  Can't the Council appoint anytime after the election?  Or, is the issue that the 5th place person would have seniority on the Council that a non-incumbent 1st thru 4th place finisher would not have?

the council could appoint someone tomorrow, in October, after the election, next year, in 2011, or never. Also, are you suggesting that the current council in late November appoint the 5th place finisher who takes office before the four persons who finished higher so they will have seniority (whatever good that does)? Or should the new council appoint?  

No,

my question was why Joe was fixed on the 1st week of December and why it might not be "good" to appoint right after the election.I understand the Council has a great deal of latitude under the law, and I suspect they will do what THEY desire, just as Bill did what HE desired. I say this knowing that everything they have a right to do just might not be the right thing to do.  We will, however, survive this.

In answer to Joe's question, yes.

Could the council appoint a temporary replacement until after the election?  If so then your question is irrelevant.

While the appointment is for the remainder of the unexpired term, I know of a case where someone was appointed to fill a legislative vacancy after a death earlier this decade, he was not a candidate in the election, when the party primary was over, the Senator resigned his appointment and the primary winner was appointed for the last six months of the term. I think this was an informal arrangement.

 Here is the state regulation on vacancies on town boards: "§ 160A-63. Vacancies.A vacancy that occurs in an elective office of a city shall be filled by appointment of the citycouncil. If the term of the office expires immediately following the next regular city election, or if thenext regular city election will be held within 90 days after the vacancy occurs, the person appointedto fill the vacancy shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Otherwise, a successor shall beelected at the next regularly scheduled city election that is held more than 90 days after the vacancyoccurs, and the person appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only until the elected successor takesoffice. The elected successor shall then serve the remainder of the unexpired term. If the number ofvacancies on the council is such that a quorum of the council cannot be obtained, the mayor shallappoint enough members to make up a quorum, and the council shall then proceed to fill theremaining vacancies. If the number of vacancies on the council is such that a quorum of the councilcannot be obtained and the office of mayor is vacant, the Governor may fill the vacancies upon therequest of any remaining member of the council, or upon the petition of any five registered voters ofthe city.  ... "  (see http://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bychapter/chapter_... for the statutes on Cities and Towns, which is a long one.) Strom resigned as of August 1.  The election is November 3, which is 94 days later. Thus, if I'm reading this correctly  "a successor shall be elected at the next regularly scheduled city election that is held more than 90 days after the vacancy occurs".  Now, this business about filing deadlines and such may be beside the point if this statute is to be taken on its face and unless other statutes apply, or I'm missing something else. I do not think that town statutes would be able to modify this very clear statement, even if a town statute has been around a while and even if it has been applied before.  But timing may have something to do with it. It seems to me these matters are in need of immediate follow-up and verification.  If there is a problem with the state statute not being followed, then various things need to be considered, including getting people to do the right thing in the face of the facts.  If they do not, then the only recourse is for someone to take this to court, or else things can go along as currently planned. Caveat:  Weaverguy is not an attorney.

Weaverguy, 160A-63 does not apply to the Town of Chapel Hill because Chapel Hill has a special local act passed in 1995 that sets the deadline at 3 days before the filing deadline. In case of a conflict between a local law and a general law, the local act prevails.    Under the statute you cite if it applied to Chapel Hill in Strom's case, there is no 5th place winner, because the vacancy is a separate office on the ballot with its own filing.   Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools had a late vacancy in 1973 and the extra two year seat appeared separately on the ballot.

Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos' memo, posted early in this thread, presents the council's options, and is a whole lot easier to understand.  Absent some unlikely lawsuit, I'm quite sure that the council will follow Ralph's advice.Fred, I wasn't being that sophisticated.  I just used the first week in December because that is the turnover meeting when all the elected people, new or incumbent, are sworn in. I continue to believe that the council shouild fill the seat ASAP.   

It's nice to get some feedback, even if I don't fully agree with it.  In my experience, in the event of a conflict between a local law and the state statutes, the state statutes prevail.  If the state statute I cite was in effect at the time the town passed a local act addressing vacancies and that local act does not conform with the state statute, then the local act, or parts of it that do not apply, do not apply.  It's not a good idea to take things like this for granted, especially in these times when everything can be looked up and checked on the internet.  And it can be very instructive to dig into the statutes and ask questions.  One learns more about how things are set up, and what can be done to change things. A bit more research may tell the tale here.  I'd recommend for starters giving Karpinos the benefit of the doubt and ask him if he thinks for sure that all is in conformance with state statutes, and why and how that is so.  It might be embarassing to find out later that this was amiss.  He may only have looked at the town's statutes and not considered whether or not those statutes were valid at the time of passage.  Just because invalid local statutes have been followed to date does not make them valid.  Still, some cross-checking in the state statutes may show that towns can pass things at variance with this particular state statute, but it would have to be specifically stated for this state statute.  Or if the state statute I cite was not in effect at the time, then the local statute may get a pass.  Still, for now in my opinion it does seem that there needs to be someone newly elected at the upcoming election, and provisions would need to be made to make this happen, since 94 is greater than 90.  It's a fine line, but them's the facts, unless there's more to the story. I'm also experienced with a such matters falling through the cracks.  Things that do not conform with statutes happen all the time.  One reason for that being the case is that often assumptions are made, and when unchallenged, inaccurate assumptions prevail.  In such legal matters, things can be done at variance with the statutes or regulations for a long time, until things get pointed out to the right people and/or things go to court.

we are not talking about town ordinance versus state laws, clearly the state law prevails there. We are talking about local acts passed by the General Assembly versus general laws passed by the General Assembly, there the local act prevails.  Trust me. The town code that people cite is simply a local publication of the local act passed by the General Assembly.  Weaverguy has put a lot of effort into his analysis and a lot of good thinking.

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