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Kingman council has options for filling mayoral vacancy

KINGMAN - As the City Council prepares for life without Mayor John Salem, who will step down later this summer, members at tonight's meeting could approve one of two proposed ordinances related to how mid-term mayoral vacancies are filled now and in the future.

The city code mandates an election be held in such events, but that code was enacted in the early 1980s and is in conflict with a state law legislators passed in 2011, which calls for mayors to be replaced by appointment until the term expires or the next regular election is held.

In Salem's case, the next election is November 2014 and his term expires Dec. 31 of that year.

City Attorney Carl Cooper discovered the city code was in conflict with state statutes and recommended that City Council appoint Vice Mayor Janet Watson to fill the seat until Dec. 31, 2014.

The City Council has since learned the law allows members to appoint anyone who is interested in the position as long as they meet the minimal requirements. There are two of them: Live within the city limits and be eligible to vote.

At tonight's meeting, council members may approve one of two proposed ordinances Cooper has drafted as requested at the July 2 meeting.

One would make it a policy that the vice mayor automatically assumes the mayor's seat in the event of a mid-term resignation. The other would allow the council to appoint "any qualified and interested elector" to fill the remaining term.

Staff will recommend the vice mayor get the nod.

Other items of interest for tonight's meeting also involve vacancy appointments and changes to the city code.

The Economic Development Marketing Commission has three vacant seats. Two are for Kingman residents and one is for a Mohave County resident.

The City Council has three applicants for each from which to choose.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has a vacancy following the resignation of Commissioner Shawn Walsh, who has moved from the area.

Three residents have applied and the Planning and Zoning Commission left the decision up to City Council.

The city attorney has modified several city codes to conform to new legislation regarding consolidated elections lawmakers passed this spring.

City Council elections will occur in the fall of 2014 rather than the spring as has occurred in the past, which will add six months to the terms of the current council members who face re-election campaigns next year.

Tonight's meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 310 N. Fourth Street.


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