Geneva City Council’s reported plan to leave the vacant Ward 6 council seat empty until after the November election appears to violate the City Charter, while sources say at least one Geneva Police officer contacted city councilors to pressure them to reject the top candidate for the seat.
City Charter: Council Must Fill Seat
Geneva’s City Charter is essentially the City of Geneva’s “constitution.” It is “the basic document that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. The charter is, therefore, the most important legal document of any city.”*
According to the section of the Geneva City Charter on city council vacancies, city council is required to appoint someone to fill any vacant seat for the remainder of the current term, and until the end of the following election year.
Although the City Charter does not provide a time frame for the appointment to take place after the seat becomes vacant, the section states that council “shall” make the appointment.
The City Charter does not offer any alternatives to the appointment process. There are no exceptions to the rule.
If City Council willingly ignores a simple and basic process outlined by the City Charter and fails to appoint a new representative for Ward 6, it should be taken very seriously by the people of Geneva.
City Council cannot just dismiss the City Charter and make up their own rules as they go along, especially when it comes to how democracy is supposed to work in Geneva.
So instead of following the Charter, council is now reportedly in the process of drafting a resolution to be voted on during the May 1 City Council meeting which will leave the people of Ward 6 unrepresented until January 1, 2020.
Council reportedly plans to argue that Ward 6 would still be represented by the Mayor and two At-Large Councilors, Mark Gramling and Gordy Eddington.
At-large councilors are elected to equally represent all of the approximately 13,000 residents of the city. It would be expected that they don’t have time to take on extra council duties. It’s also expected that a ward councilor will vigorously advocate for their ward under all circumstances. If the At-large councilors are expected to advocate for one specific ward over the other five, it creates an unusual conflict of interest.
Sources: Police Officer, Others Pressuring Council To Reject Aikens
According to sources, at least one Geneva Police officer placed phone calls to several city councilors shortly after Juanita Aikens was endorsed by the Democratic Committee to fill the seat. The officer reportedly urged those councilors not to vote to appoint Aikens.
Meanwhile, sources say that several members of the Democratic Committee were in touch with local criminal justice officials and others, and eventually agreed to push the plan for council to leave the Ward 6 seat open to “honor” the legacy of the late Ward 6 councilor John Greco.
John Greco was appointed by City Council to fill the vacant Ward 6 seat in 1994.
Five votes are required for Council to approve Aikens for the seat. Of the five Democrats on Council, at least two have reportedly refused to support Aikens’ appointment: Ward 1 Councilor Angelina Marino, and Ward 3 Councilor (and candidate for Mayor) Steve Valentino.
Steve Valentino was appointed by City Council to fill the vacant Ward 3 seat in 2007.
Angelina Marino’s DOCUMENTED RUN-INS WITH THE GENEVA POLICE DEPARTMENT have raised questions about whether she has been given preferential treatment by the GPD.
It would appear that there are influential people in the city that do not want a black woman, who has a history of fighting for justice for the city’s most vulnerable populations, on city council.
And they will violate the city charter, and leave thousands of residents without representation, to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Ward 6 Needs Your Help
To the residents of Geneva:
We need your help in Ward 6.
It appears that City Council is getting ready to enact an offensive, cruel and most likely unprecedented plan to leave our ward unrepresented for more than nine months.
If this was YOUR ward, what would you do?
Please call and email your city councilors and tell them that they can’t just make up the rules of democracy as they go along, and that they need to follow the City Charter and appoint a representative for Ward 6 at the May 1, 2019 council meeting.