How does a person resign from their elected position?
When a person wishes to resign from an elected position on the Council, they must submit a letter of resignation. That letter is placed on a Council agenda and it must be approved by a majority of the Council. At that time the Council declares the Council seat is vacant.
What happens when there is a vacant seat?
When there is a vacant seat it can either be filled by an appointment by Council or by voters at an election.
What determines whether a seat is filled by appointment or election?
The method used to fill a seat depends on several things. First, how many years are left in the term of the Councilmember who resigned? If it is less than two years, then the seat is filled by appointment. If it is more than two years, then the seat may be filled at an election. It gets a little tricky when the resignation is near the cut-off for getting an item on the ballot at the next election.
What if the resignation is near the ballot cut-off period?
If the resignation occurs more than 30 days before the last day to file for that office then the remainder of that term will be listed on the ballot. If the resignation is less than 30 days before the last day to file for that office then the remainder of the term will be filled by Council appointment.
For example, Councilmember Cook resigned on February 18, 2020. His term was not up until January 2023 so there were more than two years remaining in his term. The next election will be on August 4, 2020. The filing deadline for that election is April 6, 2020 and 30 days before that date is March 7, 2020. This is the date for determining whether a seat is filled by appointment or election. Since Councilmember Cook resigned before March 7, the remainder of his term must be included on the August 4 ballot. Council will appoint someone to fill the seat until the person elected is sworn in. That happens in January 2021.
What is the process for appointing a person to fill a vacant seat?
Anyone who wishes to be considered for an appointment to a vacant seat needs to submit an application to the Clerk’s Office. Applications can be submitted online at http://www.gilbertaz.gov/boardopenings . The application deadline is Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. without exception.
On March 5, 2020 the Council will meet to discuss the applications. At that time they will select six applicants to interview at a meeting on March 17, 2020. They will select one of the interviewees to fill Councilmember Cook’s seat through January 2021 when the elected Councilmember is sworn in.
It is anticipated there will be additional vacancies in March 2020. People to fill these seats will be selected from the people interviewed at the March 17 Special Meeting.
What is the process for electing a person to fill a vacant seat?
The process for running in the August 4, 2020 election for the two-year term beginning in January 2021 is the same as for the people wishing to run for four-year terms. All the needed documents can be found at: https://www.gilbertaz.gov/departments/clerk-s-office/elections/council-candidate-packet. The minimum number of signatures needed is 1000 and the deadline to file is April 6.
Before a person can start collecting signatures they will need to file a Statement of Interest. There is a different petition for the two-year term. If you intend to collect or spend money you will need to form a Political Committee and file a Statement of Organization. Links to all these forms along with a Candidate Handbook with additional information about running for an office can be found at the website above.