Avondale will consider mayor’s resignation
This story has been updated.
Avondale’s City Commission has a short but important meeting Monday.
City Commissioners will consider a vote to accept the resignation of Ed Rieker as mayor and set a special election, set to take place in March. Rieker announced his resignation on Oct. 2 to take a university teaching job. Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager will act as mayor until the position is filled.
The Oct. 20 meeting will begin at 7:30 pm and will be held at City Hall, located at 21 North Avondale Plaza. All meetings are open to the public.
When the city announced the procedure for filling the vacancy, the announcement said, “The (Board of Mayor and Commissioners) needs to vote on whether to accept Mayor Rieker’s resignation and whether to declare the position of Mayor vacant at a public meeting. The resignation is not effective and there is no vacancy in the office unless the BOMC votes accordingly.”
This led to a fierce email campaign to convince commissioners to vote against accepting Rieker’s resignation. During an Oct. 15 work session, Giager said he personally had received 80 to 90 emails.
Giager said the commission cannot legally force Rieker to remain mayor. He also indicated that the city is not required to vote to accept the resignation.
“The word accept does not mean we have to vote on it,” Giager said. “It means we’ve received it.”
After the meeting, Giager told Decaturish, “The attorneys looked at the word ‘accept’ and they said that basically ‘accept’ means received resignation, so if somebody puts in a resignation you can’t tell them, ‘No, you’re going to fulfill your term.'”
City Attorney Bob Wilson explained that the city can accept Rieker’s resignation in a couple of different ways.
“They can vote to accept it and then vote to declare the position vacant, or they can do it in a combined vote or they can vote to just declare the position vacant which … they will have by that act acknowledged receipt of the resignation and by reasonable deduction accepted it,” Wilson said.
Stephen Quinn, another of the city’s attorneys, said “the (Board of Mayor and Commissioners) does not have discretion to refuse the resignation. Nonetheless, the BOMC must act to ‘accept’ it, i.e., acknowledge its receipt. The only way the BOMC can ever act is to vote. Thus the scheduled vote to accept the resignation.”