Local News

Craig Sanderson Wants Back On The Town Council

June 26, 2016

 Just weeks after he resigned to run for Mayor, Craig Sanderson wants to be appointed to the Town Council to fill the vacancy he created.

A voter approved resolution requires that a councilmember who is not in the final year of his or her term resign if they want to run for Mayor.  This created a problem for Sanderson. He was appointed to the job when Greg Bryan skipped town. So technically Sanderson was still serving a council term.  It’s confusing but Sanderson knew he had to step down in order to run for Mayor. 

On June 22nd he approached his former colleagues and floated the idea to be appointed to his old seat.

Sanderson told the council, “In my opinion it’s in the interest of the town as well as the council that we provide some continuity.  Having myself return to the council until the fall election of this year.”  Sanderson added, “I think it’s important that the public understand the process and thereby I request that you share your thoughts and concerns in discussion with the public.”

Sanderson made it clear he was not asking to be appointed at that meeting. He just wanted the Council to consider the idea.

Mayor John Rueter liked the idea. He said, “I would like to see Mr. Sanderson back on this council. Let me be very frank about that. I also would like to see the community and constituency have a chance to comment on this.”

Rueter wants to consult with the Town Attorney to see if an appointment needs to be made August first. Rueter also wants to make sure appointing Sanderson is legal.

Councilman Al Montoya wondered if another resignation would re-set the clock giving the council another 60 days to fill the seat.

Town Manager Eric Duthie said he has absolutely nothing to say on the mechanics of this.

Montoya then took on the issue of the Sanderson appointment. He did not seem for it.

Montoya told Rueter, “When this referendum came into play to have the mayor elected and having him sit out the rest of the remainder of his seat, if I remember correctly you signed that petition.”

Reuter said, “Absolutely.”

Montoya continued, “It seems to me now that we’re trying to circumvent that resolution by going back and reappointing somebody that was the Mayor. One of the things that I want is transparency and honesty on this council. If I would have signed it I certainly wouldn’t be supporting what we are trying to do now. It just doesn’t seem right to me to get one mayor out and try to work the system to get another mayor back in.

Councilman John Schoppmann echoed Montoya’s views. Schoppmann said, “My opinion is if one of the council members decides to resign, I would not be able to vote for him to be back on.  I would get one of the two candidates that’s run and have them be part of the council. This is not good. It doesn’t look good. It may be legal as heck but it doesn’t smell good.”

After the meeting, we asked Sanderson if reappointing him to the council violates the voter approved measure that forced him to resign to run for mayor. Sanderson replied, “I would even consider it if it did (violate the spirit of the law).”

Sanderson said he has no problem with the direct election of the mayor, but he opposed the voter approved law claiming it was poorly written and it’s not good for the community, not anticipating that he would be in this position.

Sanderson said, “The way it should have been is that I wouldn’t have to resign until a new mayor was elected. If it was me I would sit over in the Mayor’s seat. If it was somebody else I would be replaced. I can’t have both seats. That’s the point of the law.  You can’t hold the seat and run for another at the same time.”

As far as the concerns of his former colleagues on the council, “Apparently this concern of the council is just some unrest as to is it legal. That’s why I requested the council and I appreciate their candidness in discussing it in public in order to get an idea what their concerns were.”