Archive for Monday, October 31, 2011

Effort under way to recall Basehor City Council members

Petitioners accuse Mertz, Dysart of open-meetings violations in Loughry firing

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

October 31, 2011, 9:13 a.m.

Updated: October 31, 2011, 7:02 p.m.

Dennis Mertz

Dennis Mertz

Iris Dysart

Iris Dysart

Related document

A group of Basehor residents is seeking the recall of Basehor City Council members Dennis Mertz and Iris Dysart, accusing them of violating the Kansas Open Meetings Act in connection with their surprise Sept. 19 vote to fire former city administrator Mark Loughry.

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson late last week approved an application to circulate recall petitions for Mertz and Dysart.

If the Basehor residents sponsoring the petition can collect the necessary number of signatures, the city could have a recall election for the two council members within the next three months, Leavenworth County Clerk Janet Klasinski said.

If the effort to recall either council member is successful, Mertz or Dysart would be the first elected official ever to be recalled in Leavenworth County, Klasinski said.

A group of Basehor residents submitted the application for the recall petitions last week, Klasinski said, and Thompson determined their application cited sufficient grounds for recall for the effort to proceed.

The petition submitted to the county lists three Basehor residents as members of a committee seeking the recall: Trudy Stonacek, Maureen Weiss and Wendell King.

The residents' petitions allege that Mertz, Dysart and council member Fred Box had discussions connected to Loughry's firing outside of a public meeting, which would violate the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Stonacek told the Sentinel on Monday that the three members of the recall committee, all residents of the Falcon Lakes subdivision in northern Basehor, had started working on the effort shortly after the city council voted to fire Loughry in September.

The three residents thought that meeting minutes and reports in the Sentinel had indicated an open-meetings violation by Mertz, Dysart and Box, Stonacek said.

“It appears that there had been prior discussions, outside of the meeting,” Stonacek said. “That's the entire basis of this recall.”

The residents submitted petitions for the recall of Mertz and Dysart and not Box, she said, because statutes would not allow for the recall of a majority of the city council all at once.

Stonacek said city council members owed it to Basehor residents to discuss their decisions openly, and they had not done so before firing Loughry.

“That is their responsibility as an elected official, to provide for an informed electorate,” Stonacek said. “And when there is not discussion, open discussion, at the meeting, that can't happen.”

Mertz, contacted by the Sentinel Monday evening, declined to comment on the recall petition.

The Sentinel's attempts to contact Dysart on Monday were unsuccessful.

Box said Monday that he, Dysart and Mertz had never discussed city business outside of council meetings.

“Absolutely not,” Box said. “I haven't talked to anybody.”

Box said Basehor City Attorney Shannon Marcano had advised council members not to make any comments regarding Loughry's firing.

Arguing that Mertz, Dysart and Box had violated open-meetings laws, the recall petitions cite that Dysart called for a vote on Loughry's firing at the council's Sept. 19 meeting without discussing the issue at all. It also notes comments Box made in a Sept. 22 Sentinel story that Mertz's motion to fire Loughry did not surprise him, and he “knew it was coming up.”

Thompson said his approval of the petition had nothing to do with whether the allegations against Mertz and Dysart were true. Thompson had to determine only that, if true, the allegations would qualify as grounds for a recall vote under state law.

State law allows for a recall petition for election officers in the case of a felony conviction, “misconduct in office or failure to perform duties prescribed by law.”

To prompt a recall vote, the recall committee will need petition signatures from a required number of registered Basehor voters by late January, Klasinski said. On the petition to recall Mertz, they will need 124 signatures; for a vote to recall Dysart, they will need 193. The number of signatures required, dictated by state law, is determined based on the number of total votes cast for Basehor City Council candidates in the year the member was elected.

If enough residents sign the petition, the recall of the two council members would go to a majority vote of Basehor residents, Klasinski said.

Stonacek said the recall group would move quickly in its attempt to get enough signatures for a recall vote. She said she was optimistic that the recall group would find the signatures it needed, and that Basehor residents would vote to recall the council members.

“I do think that there is enough support for this effort,” Stonacek said.

If either council member were recalled, Mayor Terry Hill would appoint a replacement member to finish out his or her term, just as he would in case of any vacancy on the council.

Mertz was elected to the council in 2009, and his term runs until 2013. Dysart was elected in 2003 and has been re-elected twice, most recently in April of this year. Her term runs until 2015.

Comments

LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 11 months ago

Wrong people targeted for recall here. Dysart and Mertz are the only ones looking out for the taxpayers of this city. Hill and Breuer should go. Both have shown themselves in council meetings to have huge anger management problems when they stormed out of the chamber when a decision went against them. Are they the kind of people we want mishandling our affairs and money? No, we want those like Iris and Dennis who question excessive spending and have the courage to take the hard stands.

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angryindian 2 years, 11 months ago

I truely believe you have put your faith in the wrong persons. I niether want nor desire any fox "watching the preverbal hen house". You mentioned certain people with anger management issues, let look at Mertz and his "normal"behavior.... video-taping city workers, among other things. Who the hell made him judge, jury and executioner....

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johninbasehor 2 years, 11 months ago

Much of this depends on how much Mertz and Dysart will ultimately cost the city and taxpayers because of this slander lawuit. I don't know how Box managed to not be part of this, but Dysart has been around much too long. As far as Hill and Breuer having anger management problems, at least they don't fire people, calling them thieves and crooks, putting the city in the middle of a potentially costly slander law suit without anyone being convicted of a crime or wrongdoing. This all was no more than small town politics brought on by a disgruntled employees letter that the council fell for, hook line and sinker. The council members fire someone over health care cost for its top employee's family, and then turn around and spends a million two hundred thousand dollars for a road that is not need in our lifetime. By the way, if this disgruntled employee was so trustworthy and dependable, why did the council replace him within the last year?

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careforthetown 2 years, 11 months ago

LightTheDarkCorners you have a very good head on your shoulders. Anger management has been a repetitive problem for the city for many years. If we the citizens continue to uphold that behavior then we are just as guilty as they. This city has terminated very good employees in the past without cause or provocation to cover up their behaviors or mistakes. If we the citizens don't stop and allow this to play out fully then are we not doing what we are accusing them of doing, knee jerk reactions. I can assure you this will only hurt the city.

We need to know the truth the city deserves to know the truth not just about Mark but the whole truth. I would encourage all of you to be patient and the truth will come out the truth always comes out. We the citizens have an opportunity to make this the best city it can be. If we the citizens start making angry decisions then are we not becoming the people that we say were so vehemently against. Be patient the truth will come out.

I believe before we need to start worring about our taxes and lawsuits that we worry about fixing the city first. Please take a step back and be patient.

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Talisman 2 years, 11 months ago

Sorry 'LightTheDarkCorners' but in my opinion the two that have been selected for recall are exactly the two that we need to have recalled! They have operated outside the bounds of the council and then decide to fire the City Administrator without following his contract. It's evident that there was previous discussion prior to that meeting because Mertz didn't 'just throw the motion out there!' I'm excited to see where this may lead and I'd like to be one of the first to sign the petition!

Careforthetown....I believe the truth has come out and unfortunately all it has led to is a lawsuit this city can't defend and we will all have to pay for.

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becky 2 years, 11 months ago

have you people been reading the papers have you been coming to the meeting every month no you falcon lakes people have only been coming since mark got fired you think he is just a good old boy well he.t not you tell the truth on your job application you don't exceed your salary you tell the truth , about the health insurance issure lots of people looked at the contract including his lawyer signed the contract then a year later has the mayor hill sign to say if is ok to give full health insurance to his family mark is a contract person not a full employee of basehor iris and dennis are the only council members that are looking out for the people of basehor if you want a recall maybe we shall recall terry hill for writing a check for $50,000.00 to mark he doesn't have the limit to write a check for that amount and he did'nt tell the council members about it how sneakily is that he could of e-mailed council members and told them but no he didn;t so what is he hiding or sneakily about what did mark do at city hall anyway he has 2 assistance corey and cassie doing a lot OF his job so if you falcon lakes people don,t want to come to the council meetings and voice your comments shut up iris and dennis are the only council members THAT ARE STANDING UP FOR THE PEOPLE OF BASEHOR i will not sign

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Basehorgirl 2 years, 11 months ago

First of all, Becky, I hope you aren't an example of Basehor's fine school system, because you need a refresher in usage. If you want anyone to take you seriously, you need to write like you have a basic grasp of the English language. Your support for the two that got Basehor into this mess is less welcome than you imagine. Mertz and Dysart clearly had an ambush planned and were ignorant of the law. Prime examples of small town minds and systems run amok. They seem to believe that what they do and say will not be noted or challenged. RECALL! You are only as mighty as the ones you elect to represent you. Pay attention Basehor!

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becky 2 years, 11 months ago

iris and dennis are doing thier jobs on the city council keep up the good work . people talk about this paper that the former city attorney patrick reavey wrote he was doing his job mayor hill didn,t want the people to see this letter from patrick reavey is that why he wanted to change city attorney this may 2011 because something is going to come out of this ,what is going on at city hall i want to keep iris and dennis we don,t need anymore relative on the city council board we have 3 now terry, travis, david we don,t need anymore good old boys on the city council terry what was your reason to get a new city attorney

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careforthetown 2 years, 11 months ago

You will see sometime this month how bad the good old boy system has been in our town. I (know) more is going to come out. You will all be shocked and offended at what has been swept under the rug. Respectfully submitted.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

i am a former res of the city and follow city news. this is a tragedy for the taxpayers of basehor. the city is being run by a nepotist mayor plain and simple. this rabbit hole goes deeper than anyone knows. i urge all taxpayers who want to have a voice in how the city spends our money to do this. call the news and the kansas attourney gen. follow the money. where and when? did this violation of the open meeting rule take place?

the mayor tried to pay off mr.Loughry without the taxpayers or the city governing body finding out. Why?

Three city council members who are related is the problem. why is there no question of them having comunicated outside of the meetings?

finaly this is the mayors doing and his fault. Mr hill should resign.

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occupybasehor 2 years, 10 months ago

You just sit and spew garbage and have absoluely NO idea what you are talking about. There are not three council members who are related nor is Councilman Breuer related to the Mayor. Maybe you believe that Dysart, Box and Mertz are related. They all three think alike and they all three will destroy the city of Basehor if they are not stopped. I am thankful that you moved out of town!! We have enough problems without your input.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

basehorgirl please refrain from pointing out the shortcommings of others. when someone post a comment here or anywhere on the net we all win. just because we dont all agree we should still respect others feelings.

furthermore mr. Box did not provide evidence of a impropper meeting. he simply made an excited utterance when he stated "he was not supprised" this in no way should be seen as grounds for a recall. the proof required should be more solid.

lets all try and remember that what we want is a bright and prosperous future for Basehor. name calling and dividedness between basehor citizens wont provide this.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 11 months ago

Becky, after reading your blog, I understand why you like Iris so much. You really need to get your 75 year old grandmother to retire. I understand that there is an accruing penalty in Mark Loughry's contract for not paying him his severance, so I guess that amount is continuing to grow along with the slander case, as long as he is not paid what is owed to him. Who replaced Mr. Reavey? Was it the council or the Mayor? I also am looking forward to finding out if anyone is convicted of theft from the city. For the sake of the city and the council members in question, you better hope that you were right, otherwise, you really do need to resign for ruining this man and his family's life, and costing the Basehor taxpayers extra dollars for your mistakes. Becky, you really need to have your 3rd grade daughter proofread your postings.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

what does beckys grandmother have to do with this? how rude and simpleminded you are.

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 11 months ago

Mayor replaced Reavey because so far as the Mayor was concerned Mr. Reavey has a fatal flaw. He calls the law as it is - not the way the Mayor wants it to be.

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Basehorgirl 2 years, 11 months ago

seriously? I was merely pointing out that if one if expressing themselves in a public forum, then their grammar will be part of the evaluation of the comments made. If you appear ignorant of basic punctuation..................... I never told anyone to "shut up" or that someone is "hiding something" or being "sneaky" or, what was it becky? Saying someone has their assistants do all of their work for them?

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 11 months ago

jgreen1515, Talisman, Basehorgirl.

What's with the lead story today? Your hero, Mr. Loughry, was obviously spending his time looking for another job for months.

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basehordream 2 years, 11 months ago

I am wondering how much this recall will cost the City? I was told the County would charge the City anywhere up to $10,000.00 for this recall election if signature requirements are achieved. That is of great concern for me.

Another note. City's are required to have insurance to cover such possible lawsuit that could be filed. So to those few people using tactics to scare citizens on here can stop.

If you recall the people who care then who do you have left? These people (Dennis and Iris) are the ones going to City hall and checking and finding the possible wrongdoing that have led to the KBI to conclude that there is enough evidence to investigate. Hello people. Wake up!!!

DO NOT SIGN THE PETITION

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johninbasehor 2 years, 11 months ago

LightTheDarkCorners (anonymous) says… jgreen1515, Talisman, Basehorgirl.

What's with the lead story today? Your hero, Mr. Loughry, was obviously spending his time looking for another job for months.

Another resident that has a handicap when it comes to reading. Quote from Basehor Sentinel: "Loughry told the Sentinel on Tuesday that he'd seen an advertisement for the position shortly after he was dismissed by Basehor in late September and sent in his resume."

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LightTheDarkCorners 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey sport. I bet he started the application process on July28th.

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Basehorgirl 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey sport, betcha you made that up.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

it would have to be befor the 1st of june a full background check and proper vetting of mr loughry would take some time.

basehordream your correct the city does have ins. to cover them in this matter. mr. mertz and ms. dysart are the taxpayers ins. against out of control spending and waste in city hall. councilwoman dysart has served the citizens of basehor for nearly 8 years. her tenure has been without reproach. the dismissal of mr loughry was another instance where her experience and attn. have saved the city money once again.

basehor does not need a city admin. it needs a fulltime mayor not a mayor by proxy as has been the case under mr hill. mr hill would do well to remember he did not win the mayoral election by a landslide. if dysart had won the city would have had a fulltime leader. its time to combine the salaries of the mayor and city admin. and put a leader in city hall who has their eyes on the ball and their ear tuned to the will of the citizens.

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becky 2 years, 11 months ago

the mayor gets to select the city attorney. have you seen the letter that patrick reavey former attorney wrote it says that mark did not repect his legal opinions and he prefers to inappropriately take actions without following proper protocol. i'm just writing what i see and hear from council meeting maybe you can come to some of the meeting and found out for your self instead of getting one side of the story there is always 2 sides to a story

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occupybasehor 2 years, 11 months ago

mckinley2010 Really? Where do you come up with these ideas?

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

the park closes at 10pm anyone here after that time will be subject to arrest. please return to your parents basement or a friends couch. that is all.

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DeHall 2 years, 11 months ago

I read the petition. The petitioners provide no proof that anyone violated Kansas Statute 75-4318. Simply stated, calling for a vote without discussion is not proof that discussion took place outside of a meeting.

The petition also states that Kansas Statute 75-4317 subsection (a) was violated. This Statute reads; "In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that meetings for the conduct of governmental affairs and the transaction of governmental business be open to the public."

From what I've read, I don't believe this particular statute was broken (perhaps the petitioners reference the wrong one?). I am open to correction, however, so feel free to correct away.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

DeHall

i also have read the petition and the statute. there does not seem to be enough evidence to support the recall. perhaps mr. thompson was intending to come down on the side of caution here. the group which brought the recal petition are entitled to this action even if it is an ill advised waste of time and money. lets face it they (hill, breuer & Miles) didnt get their way. so now they along with others controled by them are looking for revenge. who cares if loughry sues the city let him. let the state law enforcement finish the investigation. either way the city saved the 50+ thousand dollars Hill would have paid loughry (without consulting the city council or obtaining a release from mr loughry) loughry would have been free to sue and have his free shot at the cookie jar. so at least the councils action has saved the 50K. i think the real question here is why do the petitioners care so much? its clear that they are very angry. is mr loughry's dismissal going to cost them money? are they paying for his lawyers fees? are they just trying to support a guy nextdoor? who knows. one thing is for sure they want total control of the governing body. for what reason? who will benifit when they have it? these are questions that they need to answer. im not here hiding behind a username and im willing to discuss this with any rational person so long as the name calling and childish bickering stops. mr hill needs to show leadership here in the worst way. end the division in the city hold a public forum and put the city back together. his job is to be a leader and set an example for the young pepole of basehor. mr mayor end this fighting now prove yourself to be a leader worthy of the votes you recieved. put the city first and sort out you divisons out later please.

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Talisman 2 years, 11 months ago

McKinley2010 - The city hasn't saved $50,000. In fact, they've already offered Loughry an additional amount, on top of the $50,000, in hopes that he would sign a waiver to not sue them! I've heard that he has refused that offer.

In my opinion, I don't believe the recall petition is a waste of time. We have procedures in place to deal with elected officials when they are not acting in the best interest of the citizens. Evidently there is enough support for this and they will easily get the needed signatures necessary for an election.

Mertz is a loose cannon and this was a very personal issue with him. If this hadn't blown up in his face he'd be after several other city employees.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

talisman

who is we?

i respect your opinion as to the petition its your right as a citizen.

who are you refering to that mr mertz is "after" .

do you work for the city of basehor?

i notice you have included a comment about the 50K payment to mark. you dont agree that the payment terry would have made ( without consent of the governing body) was not appropriate? mr loughry would still have retaind the option to seek legal remedy. a seperation agreeement which could have been arranged very quickly would have covered this.

i feel the council president is acting on behalf of the majority of the citizens of basehor. there are some very serious questions still to be asked here.

i have long felt that an independent audit of the city was in order.

thank you for your very polite post. this is what im talking about. i look forward to hearing your and other well thought out responces here.

in closing i would like to express my thanks for your comments here. excanges like this make government work.

erin & eric mckinley

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johninbasehor 2 years, 11 months ago

McKinley 2010

You state in the first of seven posts on this particular article that you are no longer a resident of Basehor. Why do you care one way or the other as a non citizen of Basehor? I cannot understand why you keep posting when you have no voice in this matter of a recall! Are you on the payroll of someone involved in this recall, or the slander law suit?
It is also stated that the city has insurance to cover this lawsuit. That is great, but how long will the city be able to get this type of insurance if the Council goes around slandering people, when their have not even been charges of wrong doing brought into a court of law?

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

im going by what i have found out from this publication and the pdf's of the court filings. i can only assume that the investagation is as of yet incompleat. after the investagation is over i would think that would be when the evidence or lack thereof would go to a grand jury. charges would then follow according to the juries findings.

i dont live in basehor anylonger because i had to relocate for my job. i miss it very much and loved living there. i care because i have many friends that do live in the city still. if i am ever able to do so . i would like very much to live there again. i hope the fall is very pretty there.

i am on nobodys payroll except for my job which is in tourisim. the development of the legends area is a great asset to the city of basehor. it is my hope that through comunity involvment and positive government action. basehor will grow to be one of northeast Ks. great comunities.

i have yet to see the court filings for any "slander" lawsuit. so i cant comment on it and i have not. in genral it is "liable" that is the more serious of defamation actions. this is when someone accuses someone of something or action in print. this is something that no member of the council or mayor has done. the article in the paper said the council had met in Ex. session to discuss the matter to preserve att. client privalege. the pdf posted in this paper by mr. mertz states as much. the first anyone saw in print of allegded wrong doing was in the paper. along with the alleged violation of the open meetings statute.

in closing thanks for being a concerned and active citizen. i also like your direct approach in your post. who knows we might live nextdoor to eachother one day and i never want to make an emeny if i can avoid doing so.

lastly your username jgreen1515 are you a jericho fan?

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DeHall 2 years, 11 months ago

Read this sentence:

        '  “It appears that there had been prior discussions, outside of the meeting,” Stonacek                                        said. “That's the entire basis of this recall.”  '

Now ask yourself -- does "appearance" = actual proof? Should the "entire basis" of any charge be based solely upon "appearance"?

If you've answered "yes" to these questions, I'd suggest you check out the "introduction to Law" (PRLG0121) class at KCKCC.

I've lived in Basehor for 6 years and until now, I couldn't pick the City Council members (or Mark Loughry, for that matter) out of a lineup. Is that a good thing? Probably not...And a lot of what's going on certainly appears (there's that word again) to be "good ole boy" politics. With that said, I fail to see how the petitioners have in ANY way proven that ANY Kansas Statute has been violated. Petitioners -- I understand your frustration with the council members, but until you can provide proof that laws were broken, no one should sign this petition.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

DeHall

exactly. where is the beef. this recall will waste time and money which could have been used for other things. bringing more business and widening the sales tax base would be nice. we have seen the "good ol boy" system work before. for those who doubt this ask yourselves while your shopping for thanksgiving dinner in bonner springs. then remember that the city is on the hook for alot of money for wolfe creek. your taxes and fees keep going up almost as fast as the pay rate for city staff. makes ya think dont it. did you get a big raise this year? i didnt either.

its ok i will cut back and just have a turkey burger so i can pay my sewer bill.

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swampdonkey 2 years, 11 months ago

Question....Who would become Mayor if Mr. Hill was to resign or lose his seat before his term is up?

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mckinley2010 2 years, 11 months ago

a better question is. who would replace the two council members? the votors would have no say for the next 2 years. the mayor would select them from any where he wants.

it the mayor were to for any reason step down. the council president would then mayor for the remaining 2 years. it would be his task then to select a new councilperson. this member would also servr 2 years.

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swampdonkey 2 years, 11 months ago

Should be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

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