Local Board to Deal with Vacancies
Three members of Village of Lodgepole Council submit resignations
May 25, 2023
LODGEPOLE – According to Village of Lodgepole authorities, three members of the Lodgepole Board of Trustees submitted their resignations from the board earlier this month.
Currently, the board consists of five members; if the board should accept the resignations of all three members at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 6, it would leave the board without a quorum as required by Nebraska Open Meetings Act and statutory requirements.
Which would mean, the Village of Lodgepole would not be able take significant action on village issues or conduct future meetings until the board acquires a quorum once again.
Nebraska Press Association Legal Consultant Max Kautsch told the Sun-Telegraph, in the event the remaining two board members accept the resignations of the other three members, it would prompt a special election to be announced by the Nebraska Secretary of State (SoS) office.
According to Kautsch, the June 6 regularly scheduled Village of Lodgepole Board of Trustees meeting would be started by the chairman in accordance with Nebraska Open Meetings Act, however, if all three resignations were accepted, it would mean the meeting would immediately end.
If the board should only accept one or two resignations and, or negotiate to keep at least one member from resigning -- to maintain a quorum – the village could continue to operate as normal.
Despite whether the board accepts one, two or all three of the resignations, it would still need to host a special election through the state office to fill any and all vacancies.
In the meantime, according to the State of Nebraska SoS Public Information Officer Jackie Ourada, the Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub would be responsible for ensuring the village's lights stayed on and its water continued to operate – in addition to managing payroll for the town employees.
According to Ourada, there is currently another small Village in southeastern Nebraska experiencing a very similar scenario, where the village board is unable to conduct typical village business due to not having a quorum after several members of that board of trustees resigned earlier this year.
When asked what kind of timeline the Village of Lodgepole could expect for a special election, Ourada said it depends on the village, available candidates to fill vacancies and the number of vacancies that will ultimately be available.
The Sun-Telegraph reached out to current Village of Lodgepole Chairman RJ Savely, however, Savely was unable to provide a comment prior to publication.
The Village of Lodgepole volunteer interim office clerk said she hopes the board members will find a positive solution at its next regularly scheduled meeting that will not negatively impact the community.
On it's website and in accordance with Nebraska Open Meetings Act, the Village of Lodgepole posted a notice of workshop training for the Village of Lodgepole Board of Trustees to be hosted May 25, starting at 6 p.m. at the Lodgepole Village Office inside the Panther Activity Center, 630 Orchard St. Although this training is specifically for the board to learn more about their roles and responsibilities as board members, it is open to the public. However, the board will not discuss or take action on the resignations that were submitted.
Village of Lodgepole Clerk Kathrin Barker also announced the Village of Lodgepole will host its regularly scheduled meeting on June 6, starting at 7 p.m. at the Panther center, and it's then the board is expected to discuss and take action on the board resignations. However, the agenda for this meeting has not yet been posted and could potentially change between now and then.