Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Burke orders Foster seated as Mayor
“We told them months ago that their action was illegal. This has cost the Town of Quartzsite a lot of money, if you look at Mark’s [Orgeron] fees, and the voter fraud investigation, and my legal fees. We need to now go about putting Quartzsite back on track.” Ed Foster told Parkerlive Online.
After vigorous argument from both attorney's, Judge Burke agreed with Foster's attorney Julie La Benz and ruled that the controversial ordinance was in fact illegal, and they council had exceeded their authority in disqualifying Foster. He added that even if Ordinance 2-1-10 were legal, he did not see that Foster could be legitimately disqualified because of it.
Ironically, at last night's "Meet the Candidates", sponsored by the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce, candidate for County Attorney Dan Field (who had drafted 2-1-10 to exclude former Mayor Steve Bennet from holding office when Field was Quartzsite Town Attorney) defended the legality of the ordinance stating "it was even precleared by the Justice Department". Glen Buckalew, one of Field's opponents in the November 6th election countered that the ordinance violated Arizona Law and the Arizona Constitution.
Foster was ordered to be seated by October 23rd. He was elected 5 months earlier and should have been sworn in on May 22nd, but the sitting council (including officials who had been voted out) voted to disqualify Foster. The Town Council voted 4-2 last week to reject a settlement deal agreed to by both attorneys in the case and the taxpayers will now be on the hook for the additional legal fees.