Replacement councilor to be appointed, per Caribou’s new charter

12 years ago

By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

CARIBOU — Ultimately, the Caribou City Council will be appointing a new individual to the council to fill a recently-vacated seat on the board until an election or referendum is held.

Bryan Thompson was elected into office last November — at the same time that Caribou voters approved the city’s new charter; his resignation was regretfully accepted by the six other councilors as of Sept.11 and the vacancy was slated to be filled during this year’s regularly scheduled November election.

It was recently discovered, however, that an individual will need to be appointed to Thompson’s vacated position by members of the Caribou City Council before the vacated seat can be filled by an elected councilor.

City Clerk Jayne Farrin was referencing Caribou’s new charter last week as to budgetary matters when she discovered that both the city and the Maine Municipal Association had misinterpreted the time allotments stipulated by the document.

Caribou’s charter states that the election to replace a councilor must take place no less than 60 days from the date that the vacancy occurred.

“There are only 57 days from [Thompson’s] resignation to the election,” Farrin said on Tuesday.

As stated in the charter
Section 2.06, subsection D: “Filling of Vacancies. A vacancy in any elected office shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term, if any, at the next regular or special municipal election or referendum held not less than 60 days upon the occurrence of the vacancy, but the Council, by a majority vote of its members, shall appoint a qualified person within 30 days of a vacancy to fill the vacancy until the person elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term takes office. This provision shall also apply to the position of Mayor, Council Chairperson, (or) Deputy Mayor.”

With Thompson’s resignation effective as of Sept. 11, the earliest an election could theoretically be held to vote in a new councilor would be on Friday, Nov. 9, to comply with the charter’s 60-day stipulation.

The charter also states that the council must appoint a “qualified person” within 30 days of the vacancy; that person will hold their appointed council seat until Caribou’s voters elect a replacement-councilor during the next referendum or municipal election (regularly-scheduled or specially-scheduled) to fill the remainder of the unexpired term.

In this instance, the term of the vacated council position runs until Dec. 31, 2014.

When the council next meets for a regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, it will be 28 days from Thompson’s resignation — two days shy of the 30-day time limit for an appointment to be made.

Individuals interested in being appointed to the Council are asked to complete an information sheet, available at the City Clerk’s office; all forms are due on Thursday, Oct. 4, by noon.

Though the vacated council position will not be on the Election Day ballot, two other council positions will be; running unopposed for three-year terms to the council are Philip McDonough II (incumbent) and David Genthner Sr.

Also on the ballot are J. Kent Forbes, running for a three-year term on the RSU 39 School Board and incumbent Betty Hatch for a three-year term to the Jefferson Cary Hospital Fund Board.