Investigators

Getting Answers: Can elected officials remove a colleague from office?

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) - The Fayetteville City Council voted on Monday for fellow Councilman Tyrone Williams to resign — and that is about all it can do.

In refusing to give up his position, Williams said, “I violated no law and I will not resign.”

RELATED: Fayetteville council member refuses to resign, FBI involved in investigation

After hearing that, CBS 17 wanted to know how can an elected official be removed from office.

Here is what we found out:

The only state law that directly addresses the issue of removal of a public official regards disqualification for office.

It says: “when an elected official ceases to meet all qualifications for office, the office is ipso facto vacant.” 

Williams’ actions do not meet that qualification. And the Fayetteville city council merely wants him to leave — there is no pressing need to have him removed, so he’s not disqualified from holding office.

news-app-download-apple-350x50news-app-download-android-350x50

What about a recall election? State law does not provide for recall elections but nearly two dozen cities have enacted statutes allowing recalls for elected officials. However, Fayetteville is not one of those cities.

There are several other ways an elected official can be removed. If he/she committed a crime, a court order for removal can be issued.

The official can be removed via a process called “amotion.”  That’s a common law procedure for removing officers of a corporation.

Amotion is a rare and extraordinary circumstance in which court finds it is necessary to overturn the results of an election after finding an elected official created a situation where safety, security or liability concerns arose.

In 2013, a judge used amotion to remove a country commissioner in New Hanover County. That same year amotion was also used to remove a town council member in Hope Mills.

There is another option: The General assembly could step in.

A 1925 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling gave it the right to do that, but lawmakers never exercised that right.

So Fayetteville’s options are very limited and Williams — who was elected in 2017 — is not up for re-election until 2019.

WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:

RALEIGH MAN RIPPED OFF IN RENTAL HOUSE SCAM

SHERIFF: MISSING NC TEEN GIRL COULD BE IN DANGER; LAST SEEN AT WALMART WITH MAN

INDIANA COULD GET MORE CONTROVERSIAL BABY DROP-OFF BOXES FOR UNWANTED NEWBORNS

NC HEMP PROCESSING FACILITY IS LARGEST IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE

3-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN ICU AFTER SHE'S FOUND IN CREEK, DURHAM COUNTY OFFICIALS SAY


More Stories

North Carolina News Headlines

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center