I am wondering if any municipalities have an ordinance or procedure in place to deal with council vacancies and if so, do any of them use nomination by ballot?
15-1-107. Vacancies in offices; grounds; how filled.
(a) A vacancy exists in the office of mayor or councilman if during the term for which elected any mayor or councilman:
(i) Except as provided in W.S. 22-23-103, fails the residency requirements as defined by local ordinance for the city, town or ward;
(ii) Is convicted of a felony;
(iii) Fails to attend four (4) or more consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the council without an excused absence as determined by a majority of the council according to procedures adopted pursuant to subsection (b) of this section; or
(iv) Meets any other condition specified in W.S. 22-18-101.
(b) The governing body, by ordinance, shall specify the procedure for determining whether a vacancy exists.
(c) If a vacancy is determined to exist, the governing body shall appoint an eligible person to the office who shall serve until his successor is elected at the next general municipal election and qualified. If the entire council is vacant, the district judge for the district in which the city or town is located shall appoint a person to fill each vacancy and serve until the next general municipal election at which time a successor shall be elected to fill the unexpired portion of each term.
(d) A vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled only from the governing body.
(e) Vacancies in appointive offices shall be filled in the manner provided for initial appointments.
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Rolling Hills recently went through this with a council member and a mayor, who both left office early because they moved. We followed W.S. 15-1-107(c) and our council appointed a resident. To get that appointment, we advertised to our residents that a council vacancy existed and asked that anyone interested submit a Letter of Interest that detailed a little bit about themselves and why they wanted to sit on council. We had three letters submitted so Council asked all to attend a council meeting and interviewed each person individually during executive session. (My guess is that they could have also done this in a work session? Not sure.) The Council then discussed who they felt would most benefit the council as a whole and the town, and then chose the respective candidate. The Council did not do a ballot but discussed the pros and cons and came to a mutual decision. I could see where a ballot would be appropriate if there was not a consensus.
With regard to the mayor position, we knew it was coming and Council had already appointed a Mayor Pro Tem. After the Mayor moved, Council easily motioned to appoint the Mayor Pro Tem into the mayor position until the next election. (At the next election, he officially ran for mayor and was elected.)
We do not have a specific policy or procedure in place for this occurrence. Council followed statute and the advice of the town attorney with regard to the letters and interviews.