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City says Sánchez no longer a council member after move

Lisa Sánchez is no longer a member of the Boise City Council.

The former council member was informed of the action Friday in a meeting Friday with council president Holli Woodings and president pro tem Jimmy Hallyburton.

“Along with the acting city attorney, we sat down with council member Sanchez and informed her that she had vacated her seat, and that’s the city position,” Woodings said.

Sánchez moved in late December after she said she “received notice that I had to move by December 31, 2022.” Last week, former council president Elaine Clegg said the city learned Sánchez had moved outside her district. Sánchez has repeatedly noted that she is a renter.

Wooding said the task to determine Sánchez’s status fell to her as council president.

“This is an issue of policy and interpreting a state statute and making sure we are following statute and ordinances as they exist,” she said.

Woodings said the city consulted with Idaho Secretary of State Phil McGrane, and has also asked for an opinion from the office of Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador. The AG has not yet rendered an opinion, Woodings said.

She cited Idaho Code 59-901, which deals with resignations and vacancies for “public officers in general.” The code says a vacancy exists when an elected official ceases “to be a resident of the state, district or county in which the duties of his office are to be exercised, or for which he may have been elected.”

BoiseDev reached out to former council member Sánchez for comment, but she has not responded.

Sánchez wrote on Twitter she had “consulted City of Boise staff and the Ada County Elections Elections Office” before the move. BoiseDev obtained records from the Ada County Clerk that indicated that Sánchez did inquire with Ada County Elections Director Saul Seyler.

However, Seyler did not provide guidance on any specific address. Sánchez later wrote to say “I have secured housing for myself within my district,” and asked what verification would be needed. Seyler emailed her on December 5th that she would need to provide proof of her new residence after she moved.

Filling the vacancy

The process moves next to the office of mayor Lauren McLean. The mayor would nominate someone to fulfill the rest of Sánchez’s term on the council, and the remaining council members would then vote to either confirm or reject the nomination.

Sánchez tweeted a photo of her sitting at a dining room table with the caption “Happy Friday the 13th, District 3!” Friday evening. A previous version of the tweet, later deleted, showed what appeared to be a lease siting on the table with an address in Boise. The address appeared to contain a typographical error, but a similar address is within the current district 3. BoiseDev is working to obtain additional information.

If she has moved back into the district, she would need to establish residency for 30 days to be qualified for nomination to her former seat by McLean.

Though no other council seat has come vacant during McLean’s term, under former mayor Dave Bieter, the city used a process where it would accept applications for open seats, vet those applications, narrow the list down to a few finalists and the mayor would then formally make a nomination to the council. That process generally played out over a number of weeks to several months.

No matter who fills the seat, they would be required to stand for election this fall if they want to retain the office.

Update: Adjusted language to clarify the address on the paperwork is within the current district 3 boundaries. Also corrects a typo on the section of Idaho code cited by Woodings.

BoiseDev’s Margaret Carmel contributed reporting.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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