April 22, 2024
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Former Alderman Calls For Removal Of Kirby

Eye On Annapolis has learned that a group of citizens, as well as former Annapolis Alderman Julie Stankivic,  has requested that Annapolis Mayor, Joshua Cohen take action on the issue of Alderman Kenny Kirby’s residence and remove him from his Aldermanic seat.

The group has sent a letter to Mayor Cohen demanding that he uphold the City’s Charter (Section 7 (b))and declare a vacancy for the position. This demand comes on the heels of a Baltimore Sun article where the Alderman admitted that he does not have a permanent residence.

The following procedure for the filling of vacancies shall apply whenever a vacancy shall occur with fifteen months or more remaining until the next general election at which members of the city council shall be elected.

(1)  In case of the death, resignation, refusal to serve, disqualification of the mayor or of any alderman, or removal out of the city by the mayor, or out of the ward by any alderman, the mayor or acting mayor shall issue a proclamation directing that a special primary election and a special general election be held to fill the vacancy. The mayor or acting mayor shall issue this proclamation within five (5) days after the vacancy occurs.

(2)  The proclamation shall specify the date for the special primary election and special general election, provided that the special primary election shall be held on any weekday other than a state or religious holiday which is at least twenty-three (23) days but no longer than thirty (30) days from the date of the proclamation and that the special general election shall be held on any weekday other than a state or religious holiday which is at least twenty-one (21) days but not longer than thirty days from the date of the special primary election.

(3)  Except as otherwise specifically provided herein, and except where such construction would be unreasonable, the provisions of this Charter and of Title 4 of the Code of the City of Annapolis shall be applicable to the special elections provided for herein and the city shall annually budget an amount for that purpose.

(4)  Certificates of candidacy shall be filed with the office of the board of supervisors of elections not later than 9:00 p.m. on the Monday which is three (3) weeks before the day on which the special primary election is scheduled to be conducted. If the filing date occurs on a legal holiday, the certificates shall be filed not later than 9:00 p.m. on the next regular business day which is not a legal holiday.

(5)  The candidate who has been declared elected by the board of supervisors of elections shall be sworn in and seated at the next regular or special meeting of the city council following the special general election.

If Cohen and the Council declare the seat vacant, it will set in motion, a process to elect a new Alderman for the Ward.   If there is no response from the Mayor’s office, we are told the group may file a petition with the Circuit Court early next week asking the Court to make the decision. However, that may not be necessary.

Cohen’s Response

We called the Mayor’s office for a comment on the letter and learned that the City received a second letter (in the form of an email) from a concerned citizen essentially putting forth the same argument.

Dear Mayor Cohen:

Mr. Kirby should be made to resign his position as alderman of the ward where I live. He apparently has no fixed address and therefore has no right to represent the ward. Unless he lives in the ward which he supposedly represents,he should not be on the City Council. I request that you do whatever is necessary to establish whether he is indeed legally eligible to continue as an alderman. Since you became mayor as a result of a similar situation with an opponent, you should be all too familiar with what is reasonable for someone to represent the city of Annapolis an an elected official. His refusal to identify his place of residence is pretty good evidence that he does not intend to live by what the law requires.

XXXXX Van Buren Drive
Annapolis, MD 21403

As a result, the City has referred the matter to the Election Board who will be meeting on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 7pm in City Council Chambers to discuss the matter. We spoke with the Mayor who said this was all brand new territory for everyone and questioned if the Election Board was the correct body to make any recommendations, “It is my understanding that the Election Board is responsible up to the point a candidate is seated; from there, the Council is responsible for any censure or removal while in office.”  Cohen said that he has asked the City Attorney to look into this and report back to the Council at the February 13th meeting. While admitting the intent is there, Cohen said that he does not know the Charter requires an elected official to maintain residency in the appropriate political division for the duration of the term.  “If the Charter does not speak to the discrepancy, I plan to introduce legislation immediately to close the loophole.” Cohen declined to address the Kirby situation specifically feeling it would be inappropriate without the full information needed to make a comment.

Election Fraud

Another member of the group told Eye On Annapolis that they question if  Kirby ever had a lawful right to the position. When he filed to run for the office, he listed an address at 100 Conley Drive as his residence. The home’s owner, Lucille Gillis, is the great aunt of Classie Gillis Hoyle, Alderman for the 3rd Ward. Gillis, 86, is currently living in a senior home; however her niece told The Capital that Kirby had only stayed at the residence “briefly”and that was more than a year ago. The City lists Kirby’s address as 100 Conley Drive. The niece also stated that she had made several requests to have the City change the address, but never received any resolution. The City Charter states:

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.

Six months prior to filing to run for office, the voter rolls did show that Kirby had that address listed as his voting address. If it is found that Kirby was not living there or that he has never had a residence Ward 6, he may have committed election fraud.

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