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Mon, Feb. 17

Prescott Council begins process to deal with Linn's resignation

PRESCOTT - Two separate actions - an interim appointment by the Prescott City Council, and then, a special election - likely will be in the works in the coming months to fill Tammy Linn's seat on the council.

Following the provisions in the city charter, council members agreed Tuesday that they must appoint an interim council member to fill Linn's post within the next two months.

That appointment would likely run only until November, when the city would conduct a special election to allow voters to choose a person to serve out the two remaining years in Linn's term.

Linn, who has served on the council since November 2009, announced on Monday that she would be resigning from the City Council effective July 14 to move with her family to Fargo, N.D., where her husband has accepted a job.

While the council had initially planned to take the replacement discussion into a closed-door executive session after Tuesday's regular meeting, it opted instead to handle the matter in public, without an executive session.

Mayor Marlin Kuykendall led off the discussion by noting that new information had come to light that allowed for the public consideration. After the meeting, he said city officials came to the decision to cancel the executive session after getting information from Yavapai County Recorder Ana Wayman-Trujillo earlier in the day.

"There was no need for the executive session," Kuykendall said. "It's a public issue."

Wayman-Trujillo, who attended Tuesday's council meeting, pointed out that the city had already missed the May deadline for calling a special election to coincide with the Aug. 30 primary.

But, she said, the city has until July 11 to call a special election for Nov. 8, to run in conjunction with the general election.

Meanwhile, the city charter and a City Council resolution from 2000 sets out the requirements for the appointment of an interim council member.

The charter states that the council must appoint a replacement within 31 days of the departure of a member. If more than half of that person's term still remains, the council must then conduct a special election to choose a more permanent replacement.

With nearly two and a half years remaining in Linn's four-year term, City Attorney Gary Kidd told the council, "By charter, you have to have a special election. You have to call it within 150 days."

The city resolution dates back to 2000, when the council was dealing with choosing a replacement for former Councilwoman Lucy Mason, who resigned in February 2000 to run for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.

In response to that resignation, the council received more than a dozen applications from people interested in filling the vacancy. After interviewing six finalists for the post, the council appointed John Steward, who went on to run in 2001 and serve a four-year term.

On Tuesday, the council unanimously agreed that City Clerk Elizabeth Burke should begin advertising for people interested in serving in the interim post. The council resolution requires a public interview process for the applicants.

The council will discuss the matter again on June 21, and could consider calling the Nov. 8 special election at that time.

In addition, Kidd said a number of points still remain for council consideration. For instance: details of the interviewing process for the interim post; whether the candidates for the November election will have to circulate nominating petitions to get on the ballot; and whether someone who will be running in the November election can apply for the interim post.

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