A special meeting of the city council was called then canceled today as the community tries to understand what happens next now that the city’s mayoral race is thrown out.
Circuit Judge Judy Vance released a ruling Friday afternoon that stated due to “numerous errors, omissions, and apparent acts of negligence committed on Election Day, an indeterminate amount of votes in the mayoral election were unaccounted for.” As a result Vance declared the mayoral election void and said the county clerk must conduct a new election.
After advisement from attorneys and officials with the Kentucky League of Cities, City Clerk Rhonda Loy sent a notification for a special called meeting of the city council, where council members would appoint a new interim mayor. Afterward, however, Loy learned the appointment must wait until after a 10-day window when defendants can file an appeal.
If any of the defendants appeal–which includes the County Board of Elections, the City of Columbia, Curtis Hardwick and June Parson–then Hardwick could remain in office during the appellate process. If no appeal is filed, then the Council must appoint an interim mayor until an election can be held.
There are plenty of questions yet to be answered. County Clerk Lisa Greer and others have been busy seeking legal advice today on what procedures should be followed.
For now, however, it appears that Columbia is mayorless, which could cause a problem real quickly since, for one thing, the mayor signs checks to pay bills. In addition, the city has no executive order in place mandating how the city will operate should the mayor be incapacitated for any reason.
Be watching for Thursday’s Community Voice for a full report.
By Sharon Burton