Jackson town councilors and town staff at a special Monday workshop deliberated the formalization of numerous rules guiding the conduct of the council’s proceedings, including what has recently become a hot-button issue: absences from meetings and the process by which they are excused or unexcused.
Following Monday’s discussion, the Town Council is now set to vote next Monday on two ordinances that govern meeting absences and other various council rules and procedures. Some of those processes are already in practice but have never been formalized by prior councils.
The issue of consecutive missed regular meetings and when and how a councilor’s or the mayor’s seat may be vacated because of missed meetings has been at the forefront of late after Councilor Jessica Sell Chambers sent a Sept. 17 email to the council and key town staff indicating she planned to raise the issue at their subsequent Sept. 20 meeting. In her email she articulated the reasons she intended to bring it up and singled out Councilor Jim Rooks for having missed several consecutive meetings without notifying the council or the public.
Chambers followed through on her statement, raising the issue under “Matters from Mayor and Council” at the end of the Sept. 20 meeting. She pointed to a Wyoming statute governing missed regular meetings and the vacating of a council seat. That statute, Wyoming Statute 15-1-107, states, in part: “A vacancy exists in the office of mayor or councilman if during the term for which elected any mayor or councilman: ... (iii) Fails to attend four (4) or more consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the council without an excused absence as determined by a majority of the council.”
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