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The City recently received an inquiry regarding the appointment of an individual to serve the remaining term of office for Council Place 1. The inquiry questions the validity or appropriateness of such appointment based on an allegation that the person appointed, who is also the only remaining candidate for the Office of City Councilmember Place 1 in the postponed May 2020 election which is now to be held in November, has an 18 year old conviction for credit card abuse and a two-year old conviction for drug possession.
It was the citizens of the City of Watauga who determined the qualifications for the Office of Councilmember through the voter adopted City Charter. The alleged criminal record of the person appointed does not disqualify that person from serving as a City Councilmember. Moreover, the action by the City Council was to fill the vacancy in Place 1 that is vacant as a result of the combination of COVID-19 delaying the election and the resignation of a Councilmember. The person appointed was the only remaining eligible candidate and is not disqualified from serving in the office of City Councilmember.
Appointing the only remaining eligible candidate into the Office sought, upon it becoming vacant, is reasonable, fulfills the policy set by the citizens of the City of Watauga set forth in its City Charter, is in the furtherance of the democratic process and provides the candidate the opportunity to serve as she is entitled, preserving the individual liberties guaranteed to the people to be able to participate in their city government as fully as the democratic process allows.