D2 vacancy set for December to be filled in January

Mayor Sharon Wolcott has issued the following statement regarding questions at Tuesday’s City Council meeting:

“The City Council and I appreciate the concerns expressed by some residents regarding District 2 representation. Our most fundamental commitments are to ensure the laws are followed and the interests of the voters are prioritized. I promise you that is our approach in this case.

First, let’s review the facts.

On September 16, 2013, Mr. Alton informed the City Clerk in writing of a personal address change within District 2.

Mr. Alton announced his intent to resign at a public meeting on September 24, 2013.  Upon submitting a resignation letter on September 26, he specified an effective date of December 31, 2013.

The City Council voted to accept his resignation October 1, 2013.

Since that time, Mr. Alton has attended meetings telephonically and has publicly indicated that he is not in Surprise at the time of the meetings.

City ordinance permits attendance at Council meetings telephonically. When it has occurred, it is usually because the member was not in Surprise at the time of the meetings.

Recently, the City received a resident complaint that Mr. Alton is not a resident of District 2.   Cities do not have the means or authority to investigate such complaints.  The appropriate authority to review this matter is the County Attorney’s Office.  The City Attorney’s Office has forwarded the complaint to the County for investigation.

The next issue is the process for filling the vacancy created in District 2 upon the effective date of Mr. Alton’s resignation. As Councilmember Alton stated in his letter, one of the reasons for his resignation date of December 31, 2013 is to assure that everyone living in both the “old” or “new” Districts One and 2 has a voice in the makeup of the 2014 City Council.

This was a thoughtful and appropriate decision by him and one our council supports. We look forward to engaging residents in the process in January.

It is important to note that as we move forward with our ordinance revisions this fall, by the time Mr. Alton’s resignation goes into effect, we can expect to have an updated vacancy process in place that will feature more resident engagement than ever.  This is another example of the Council’s commitment to keeping all Surprise residents informed, involved and well represented in the activities of city government.

The sun is rising in Surprise. All of us look forward to an exciting 2014 with a shared vision and a united team.  I am confident and optimistic about the direction of our city, and I can’t wait to get everyone on board and set to work!”