When a vacancy on an elected nonpartisan governing body of a special purpose district where property ownership is not a qualification to vote, or a town or a city other than a first-class city or a charter code city occurs, the remaining members of the governing body appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
If the appointment is not made within 90 days of the vacancy, the authority to make the appointment reverts to the county legislative authority of the county in which all or the largest geographic portion of the local government is located. If the county legislative authority fails to make the appointment within 180 days of the vacancy, the county or remaining members of the local governmental governing body may request the Governor to make the appointment.
Where less than two members of the governing body remain in office, the county legislative authority of the county in which all or the largest geographic portion of the government is located appoints either one or two persons to bring the governing body up to two persons.
Special purpose districts that use this process to fill vacancies include:
After a vacancy occurs on a special purpose where property ownership is not a qualification to vote or that is not a qualifying special purpose district, the remaining members of the governing body must nominate at least one candidate at a meeting of the governing body.
The governing body must post notice of the vacancy and the name of the nominated candidate or candidates in three public places in the special purpose district, including on the district's website if the district has a website, for a minimum of 15 days. During the notice period, registered voters who reside in the special purpose district may submit nominations to the remaining members of the governing body.
After the notice period, the remaining members of the governing body must appoint a qualified person or persons from the nominations to the governing body at a meeting of the governing body.
A qualifying special purpose district includes fire protection districts and water-sewer districts with assessed value under $5 billion.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: This bill addresses situations when a vacancy occurs on special purpose district governing bodies and no one in the public knew the vacancy was occurring or has the opportunity to express interest or be involved in the appointment process. The bill provides that special purpose districts post notice of the vacancy, sets a timeframe so there is ample time for notice, and allows the public to put forth nominations.
OTHER: Good governance includes transparency and an accessible process to fill vacancies, but for many districts, finding two candidates is likely to delay the process. Providing one candidate with a 15-day notice period would be better for the special purpose districts, especially for the smaller districts.