The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Melissa Jenkins
Staff Writer 

Council interviews slated for next week


The Whitehall Town Council held a special meeting on Thursday, June 30, in order to discuss filling a vacant seat and paying the bills for this fiscal year.

The council seat that was discussed at the meeting belonged to Ward 3 member Elizabeth Howser. Town Attorney Matt Haus was asked to address the issue and explain the state statute.

Montana Code Annotated § 7-4-4111 states “In determination of vacancy in a municipal office, an office becomes vacant on the happening of any of the following events before the expiration of the term of the incumbent: (8) the incumbent’s ceasing to discharge the duty of office for a period of 3 consecutive months, except when prevented by illness or when absent from the city or town by permission of the governing body.”

Haus said Howser had missed the April, May, and June council meetings, which is where the order of discharge came in. By operational law the council seat is vacated by Howser (Ward 3), and no public vote is required Haus said.

The requirement to fill the vacated seat will be with a majority vote by the council members within a 30-day pe

riod from when the seat was official vacated on June 28, 2016. “Montana Code Annotated § 7-4-4112 filling of vacancy (1) when a vacancy occurs in any elective office, this position is considered open and subject to nomination and election at the next general municipal election in the same manner as the election of any other person holding the same office, except the term of office is limited to the unexpired term of the person who originally created the vacancy.

Pending an election and qualification, the council shall, by a majority vote of the members, appoint a person within 30 days of the vacancy to hold the office until a successor is elected and qualified. (3) A vacancy in the office of city council member must be filled from the ward in which the vacancy exists.”

The Council will be conducting interviews for the Ward 3 council seat at the next regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday, July 11, 2016.


Alderman Tom Jenkin asked that the Council hold off on the payment for the Ropers sidewalk project. Mayor Dale Davis added that the sidewalk was not installed to the specs that were drawn up. He said the sidewalk off of the alleyway was supposed to handicap accessible and is not. The Council will hold off paying the 50/50 payment with the Roper’s sidewalk for now.

Alderman Gary Housman asked about a bill for the sewer lagoon.

As far as Housman could recall the bill he remembered seeing was for around $4,300, and not the $9,000 some dollars Housman saw on the list.

Davis suggested maybe it was for the sewer loan. Council members agreed that if the amount in question was for the sewer loan and not Great West on the sewer lagoon, the bill would be paid. If the bill is for Great West the council will question that bill.

All other payment of bills were approved for this fiscal year.


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