Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bend City Council Will Decide on Candidate's Residency Dec. 1

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 6:57 AM

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Bend City Council will hold a special session Dec. 1 at 3 pm to decide if councilor-elect Casey Roats is qualified to serve on council. Roats won the race for position 6 despite questions around his residency. The City Charter requires councilors to have resided within the city limits for 12 months prior to their election—Roats admitted he lived outside the city from Oct. 2013 to Oct. 2014. Candidates are also required to be "qualified electors"—the Oregon Secretary of State is currently investigating claims Roats committed election fraud.

Councilor Victor Chudowsky, who introduced a motion to hold the special session during the Council Action and Reports section of last night's meeting, said that there will not be a public hearing and attorneys will not be involved. After giving Roats an opportunity to present evidence in support of his qualification for office, the City Council will deliberate and come to a decision.

Chudowsky said that if Roats is found to be qualified he will be certified at the regular City Council meeting on Dec. 3. While no one on Council spoke last night to what would happen if Roats is disqualified, the City Charter provides two ways to fill a vacancy.

Should a vacancy occur, City Council may appoint any qualified individual as a replacement within 30 days. If it does not appoint a replacement, a special election may be held.

Mayor Jim Clinton acknowledged that he has expressed his disinterest in having City Council decide, but said he doesn't believe it's appropriate for the courts to be involved

"My attitude toward it is irrelevant. The fact is that’s what the charter says and that’s what we will do," Clinton said, adding, "We have an obligation to all the other cities to protect the authority of cities." 

City Attorney Mary Winters emphasized the City Council's role in making the determination, explaining that the question of residency in this case is not a matter of state law.

The Source is continuing to follow this story. Check the blog and next week's print issue for the latest.
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