By Mike Dunn 

Ordinance 822 draws ire of residents, board members

 


Ordinance 822 instigated a large amount of controversy between residents of the town and the governing body (specific) at the Dec. 18 Saratoga Town Council meeting.

The ordinance proposed says that “All board members serve at the pleasure of the mayor and may be removed by the mayor for incompetency or neglect of duty”. Though the ordinance is only in its first reading, if passed, the mayor will be given the power to remove board members.

Town attorney, Tom Thompson, said the ordinance is the simplest way to able to remove board members who have been absent or not doing an efficient job.

“There was no procedure to remove a board member other than going into each individual chapter of the municipal code and amend each one of those ordinances or chapters that address the various codes,” said Thompson, “it was much simpler to include it under this particular provision of the municipal code.”

Mayor Zeiger said that ordinance would remove those who have conflict of interest or those who have not attended meetings for an extended period of time.

Greg Cooksey, Saratoga resident and member of the Saratoga town planning commission said the wording of the proposed amendments gives the mayor too much power to remove a board member.

“The way this is written, (the Mayor) could dismiss someone just the way he looks, political opposition or anything. This makes the boards very political. That is the last thing we want. We want the boards to be there for the people, and that is what we are there for, and not because someone says ‘if you don’t do this, I’m going to dismiss you.’ That is the power that this ordinance is giving (the mayor) and that is not right.”


“It shouldn’t be just the mayor’s power to remove any board members,” Glee Johnson said, “it would have to be done with the approval of the body because he cannot appoint without the approval of the governing body.”

“I question the fact that you are giving all of this power to the mayor. I think this amendment, if they are going to put it in there, should include what you consider neglect of duty and that the mayor should not remove anyone without the approval of the council,” Johnson added.

Tom Thompson said that the lack of specificity for the words “incompetency” and “neglect of duty” in the ordinance is necessary.

“The problem with trying to define these words in the ordinance is that it is almost impossible to have an exhaustive definition,” Thompson said, “The Wyoming supreme court has defined these terms by case law.”

Mayor Zeiger said the impetus behind the proposal of this ordinance is conflict of interest.

“I think there has been some conflict of interest going on (in the board meetings) and I’m going to leave it at that.” Mayor Zeiger said.

The next town council meeting at at 6 p.m., Jan. 7, 2014, at the Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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