Commission, Central Committee Pointing Fingers via Petitions
Commissioners Rusty Bell and Matt Avery listen diligently during Jeff Raney’s Interview
UPDATED 12/7/2018: This story has been updated to reflect that the County Commissioners and Vicki Kissack filed petitions to the District Court, each requesting the judge fill the vacant seat on the Board of Commissioners.
The County Board of Commissioners and local GOP Chairwoman Vicki Kissack remain at odds over who will fill the vacancy within the commission ranks.
Following a decision Tuesday by the commissioners to not appoint Elgin Faber, Troy McKeown, or Jeff Raney to the board, the matter was placed in the hands of the District Court.
As of Dec. 5, both the commissioners and Chairwoman Kissack have filed petitions with the court, each accusing the other of negligence and corruption.
Attorney Mitch Edwards filed the petition on behalf of Kissack, which states that the commissioners failed in their duty to select Kissack’s replacement from Faber, McKeown, or Raney, the three candidates submitted by the committee.
Wyoming Statute 18-3-524 states that, as former Commissioner Clark Kissack was a registered Campbell County Republican, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of his wife, Vicki Kissack, Chairwoman of the local GOP, to call a meeting of the central committee.
The committee was to select “three persons qualified to fill the vacancy,”, which they did, and submit those names to the commissioners, who were tasked with filling the vacancy on the board with one of the three candidates.
The commission nearly appointed Faber during their regular meeting Tuesday, but a motion to do so, made by Commissioner Rusty Bell, ultimately failed in a 2-2 vote with Commissioners Matt Avery and Mickey Shober voting no.
State statute says that, if the commissioner’s fail to choose a suitable replacement from the three candidates, a “qualified elector of the county” could file a petition to have a district court judge fill the vacancy.
Chairwoman Kissack declared, through her petition, that the commissioners are not qualified electors, and have no authority to file a petition to the courts to fill a vacancy on their own board.
According to the petition filed by Deputy County Attorney Carol Seeger on behalf of the commissioners, however, state statute defines a qualified elector as “every citizen of the United States who is a bona fide resident of Wyoming, has registered to vote, and will be eighteen (18) years of age on the day of the election at which he may vote.”
The commissioners are qualified electors and jurisdiction is rightfully placed with the District Court, the county petition says.
With their petition, the county has officially released their thoughts on the process used to select Faber, McKeown, and Raney as the three commission candidates.
The county has accused the central committee of reducing the number of applicants from 19 to 6 “by secret written ballot,” citing as proof a significant amount of public comment and interest concerning the central committee’s meeting on Nov. 15.
The commissioners intentionally refused to fill the vacancy with the three candidates, the central committee countered in their petition.
Additionally, Chairwoman Kissack pointed out that Shober and Avery will not be continuing their service as commissioners following the results of the recent general election, with commissioner-elects Bob Maul and DG Reardon moving in to replace them.
Avery, despite his recent defeat, put his name forth for consideration by the central committee on Nov. 15, but was not chosen.
Chairwoman Kissack accused Shober and Avery of voting no to “intentionally cause a deadlock.”
As of Dec. 6, District Court Judge Michael “Nick” Deegan will be handling the petition filed by the county and District Court Judge Thomas Rumpke will take on the one filed by Chairwoman Kissack.
A decision must be made by Dec. 25.