Mike Livengood’s tenure as Union mayor will extend another week.
Monday night’s board of aldermen meeting was supposed to be a transition meeting following last week’s municipal election.
Newly elected Mayor Rod Tappe and Ward 1 Alderman Brian Pickard were supposed to be sworn in and take their seats at the dais.
There was just one problem — the election results weren’t certified.
Results Not Ready
City Administrator Russell Rost said a city ordinance on election certification and miscommunication with the Franklin County Clerk’s office forced the city to scramble Monday afternoon. Instead of a regular meeting, the city opted to hold a modified meeting and will hold off on swearing in new members until April 15.
At issue is the city’s ordinance not matching Franklin County’s policies, Rost said. Under the city’s ordinance, new members must be seated at the first meeting following the election. Based on Union’s meeting schedule this month, that was set for Monday night.
County regulations state the election results don’t have to be certified until two weeks after the election takes place. That means the county clerk’s office has until April 16 to provide the final results.
Rost said this issue came up once before several years ago, that’s when the city and county first became aware of the discrepancy.
After that incident, the county was aware Union met quickly following the election. Rost said former county clerk Debbie Door never had an issue getting the results certified by Monday’s meeting.
This past November, Tim Baker was elected to replace the retiring Door. Rost said the city failed to communicate its unique situation to Baker’s office ahead of time.
Rost said the city was informed about 3 p.m. Monday afternoon the results wouldn’t be certified in time for the 6:30 p.m. meeting.
Rost said he discussed the situation with City Attorney Matt Schroeder to determine how to best handle the issue. It was decided that without certified results, newly elected members couldn’t be sworn in.
Canceling the meeting also was not an option. Rost said since the city requires new members to be seated at the first meeting following the election, calling the whole thing off would either be in violation of that ordinance or could mean the swearing-in ceremony would have to take place in May.
To avoid those issues, the city began Monday’s meeting and never actually adjourn. Instead Livengood called for a recess and the meeting will resume next week.
The meeting is scheduled to continue Monday, April 15, at 6 p.m.
Livengood and Ward 1 Alderman Jim Albrecht are technically still in office until that time.
As for the meeting itself, Rost said he and Schroeder went through the planned agenda and figured out what could be decided Monday night. Rost said Schroeder didn’t want to have any action items that required a mayor’s signature. Other items were fair game.
Two issues on the agenda were deemed timely and it was determined that immediate action was needed. The first was a public hearing that had been scheduled well in advance. To reschedule the hearing, new notices would have to be posted and the city wanted to avoid that, Rost said.
The public hearing stemmed from a request from the Union R-XI School District. The district is seeking city approval for an electronic sign at its new elementary school. The city’s planning and zoning commission supported the plan in March.
That hearing went on as scheduled. There was no comments from the public and the board accepted the minutes. An ordinance on the request will be voted on at next week’s meeting, Rost said.
The other agenda item discussed was a request for a community improvement district (see separate story). Rost said it was a time-sensitive request that needed board approval Monday night.
Rost said Schroeder felt comfortable moving the request forward because it was simply a directive to Rost to start the process of creating a community improvement district. Since Rost is under contract with the city and will work under any mayor, it was decided that it could be voted on Monday night.
Following those two discussions, the meeting was paused. The modified meeting lasted just under 7 minutes.