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Chapman: Mixed bag of proper action

By Staff | Dec 11, 2014

Unfortunately, the city has lost an able council member in Craig Zachmeier. The Ward 4 member made a few people uncomfortable during the previous year and that was a great thing. It is my hope that many of his efforts do not go in vain. Other council members also are able and owe it to voters to continue rooting out the unlawful behavior, arrogance and dishonesty that has become a staple of a select few in elected office.

Zachmeier is a natural when it comes to dissecting and understanding city ordinances and the North Dakota Century Code. The process to fill the vacancy must be an open procedure. The law must be followed. Another appointee by a few council members will not be tolerated. The replacement must be voted on by the full council, if that is the route taken. (You can read more about appointment procedures later in this column.)

It is worth pointing out that an appointment from the mayor is not the only option. How to conduct a special election can be found in Chapter 2.44 of the Rugby Municipal Code, titled “Elections”. Information can also be found in Chapter 40-21 of the Century Code, titled “Municipal Elections”.

A special election would come at a price, but the citizens of Ward 4 overwhelmingly voted Zachmeier in. They deserve to be heard and a special election is the only way to ensure that. The vacancy should be filled by the majority vote of citizens more so than a vote of council.

More done incorrectly

This will come as little shock, but the full council did not have the opportunity to approve the hire and appointment of a new auditor. According to 2.12.020, titled “Confirmation of appointments,” in the Rugby Municipal Code, “The appointments shall be submitted in writing and approved by a majority ballot of all the aldermen-elect before the same shall become operative. When the council have acted on such appointments they shall immediately notify the mayor of the result.”

I am curious to whether other proper hiring procedures were conducted, such as comparison of candidates and thorough background checks.

How to recall

Readers asked me this week about how to recall an elected official. It took a bit of digging through the Century Code, but the proper procedure can be found in 44-08-21, titled “Recall of elected officials of political subdivisions.”

Information on how to circulate a recall petition can be found in 16.1-01-09.1, titled “Recall petitions – Signature – Form – Circulation.”

This process is a necessary one in democracy, but not something to be taken lightly. If citizens feel that someone is no longer fit for office, they can take action.

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