County officials announced this week that former Grand County Council member Chris Baird’s open seat will be filled by appointment. In a June 12 memorandum, Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald said that after reviewing state election code and the 1992 document that established Grand County’s non-partisan, seven-member form of government he determined that the council vacancy should be filled by appointment because less than two years remained in Baird’s term.
“The procedure for filling a vacancy on the Grand County Council is outlined in the Grand County Plan, which adopts the amended procedures from the Utah Code,” Fitzgerald wrote in his memorandum. “A vacancy in the Grand County Council where the unexpired term is less than 2 years is filled by appointment. Former Council Member Chris Baird’s unexpired term is less than two years. Therefore, the Grand County Council shall appoint a person to fill the remainder of the unexpired term.
Grand County Clerk/Auditor Diana Carroll issued a public notice on June 13 outlining the process for candidates to file for Baird’s seat. County residents who live in County Council District 1, which includes voting precincts 1 and 9, can file a declaration of candidacy with the Grand County Clerk’s office beginning at 8 a.m. June 19 and no later than 5 p.m. on June 23. Completed declarations of candidacy must also include a petition with 25 signatures from the district.
Once Carroll compiles the list of candidates who file during the required time period, she will present the list to the county council, which will make the appointment.
“They will have to have a special meeting to make the appointment,” Carroll said.
If the council fails to make the appointment within five days of receiving the list of eligible candidates, Carroll is required by law to notify Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who will then make the appointment from the candidate list, Fitzgerald said.
In June 6 email to county council members and others, Baird resigned from the council effective June 7. He said his vision for Moab has “fallen out-of-line with the community’s vision.”
Baird served on the county council for six-and-a-half years during two separate terms.