Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Did outgoing Kuna City Council and mayor violate state law at lame duck meeting?

It appears that the outgoing mayor and City Council violated state code when they voted on a resolution and approved the publication of ordinance summaries at last week’s City Council meeting.
Last week’s council meeting, on Jan. 3, was the transition meeting, at which the outgoing officials — Mayor Scott Dowdy and City Council members Lisa Bachman and Jeff Lang — finished out their terms then handed the reins to the new officials: Mayor Greg Nelson and council members Briana Buban-Vonder Haar and Joe Stear.
The trouble is that before the outgoing officials left office, they approved a couple of things they shouldn’t have approved.
According to Idaho Code 50-702: “Councilmen elected at each general city election shall be installed at the first meeting in January following election. The manner of conducting that meeting shall be as herein set forth and not otherwise: the incumbents shall meet and conduct such business as may be necessary to conclude the fiscal matters of the preceding year; the newly elected shall then subscribe to the oath of office, be presented certificates of election, assume the duties of their position, and conduct such business as may be necessary, one (1) item of which shall be the election of a member as president of the council.”
So as I read it, the outgoing members are not authorized to conduct any business other than what is necessary to conclude the fiscal matters of the preceding year.
Once they do that, then the new officials take over.
In fact, the resolution they passed authorizes the mayor to execute the signing of an addendum to an agreement with the New York Irrigation District. The name on the signature line is “J. Scott Dowdy, Mayor.”
A message left with city attorney Richard Roats on Friday was not returned by deadline on Tuesday.

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