Eye On Annapolis has learned that a citizens group in Ward Six will be challenging the candidacy of the sitting Alderman, Kenny Kirby if and when he files. The group does not believe he meets the residency requirement to run for elected office.
Sec. 3. – Terms; qualifications for office.
(a) The mayor and aldermen shall each serve terms of four (4) years, or until their successors are elected and qualified. The beginning and ending of each term is as prescribed in Article II, Section 5 of this Charter.
(b) The mayor must be a registered voter in the city for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the date of the general election. A person may not hold office as mayor for more than two (2) full consecutive terms to which elected in the manner provided by Article II, Section 5 of this Charter.
(c) Aldermen, except those first elected from areas annexed to the city, shall be registered voters in the city for at least one (1) year immediately preceding their election and a registered voter in the ward from which they are elected for at least six (6) months and must have resided in that ward for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the date of the general election.
Earlier in his term, Alderman Kirby was found to be living in a HACA property without authorization when police raided the unit and found the Alderman. Questions were raised about the legitimacy of the address provided when he ran for office. The Alderman dodged any questions regarding his residency by saying that his residence was “where I lay my head.” When a complaint was filed, the Board of Elections passed it off to the City Council who ultimately did nothing as the Alderman was able to obtain a residence and employment and substantiate it to the Mayor and Council.
Concerns are heightened by events as recently as March 2013 when Kirby was the subject of eviction proceedings from his apartment on Bricin Street in the Forest Hills Apartment Complex and said he would be living with an undisclosed family member who lived on Crows Nest Court, but didn’t know the exact address. This would be less than 45 days from the six month time frame in which a candidate would be to prove their residency in the Ward for which they seek to hold office.
Even more recently, it has been suggested that Kirby no longer has a legal residence. The citizens group wants make sure that the City and the Board of Elections is holding everyone to the same letter of the City Charter and is challenging Kirby’s residency.
In addition, Kirby has previously stated very matter-of-factly that he often stays with friends in Ward 1, at his fathers home on Parole Street in Ward 3, and sometimes with other friends both in and outside the City. Scott Bowling, a local activist, and former Candidate for Alderman from Ward 3 who is familiar with the citizen group’s efforts said that this is not about whether Alderman Kirby is a nice guy, or whether he currently represents his constituents well, this is about preserving the integrity of the process, and ensuring that every candidate for Mayor and Alderman is held to the same standard(s) as clearly outlined in the city code. “Any deviation from the City Code deprives the voters of Annapolis their right to a fair and honest election, and other than that is simply unacceptable,” Bowling went on to say. “Validation and verification only strengthen the process overall, and make it more transparent to all”
An attorney familiar with election law said, Kirby will likely have to provide solid proof of residency such as a lease, copies of payments for the rent, a government issued ID with the address, utility bills, and absent those, a sworn affidavit from the owner of the residence that he claims stating that he is a resident and is living rent-free. The residence itself does not need to go back six months from the general election; however, all residences he claims and provides proof of residency must be within the boundaries of Ward 6.