Elections are governed by state law, which dictates the date and time an office is assumed based on the sole legal act of the certification of the election. This is not optional nor does any political body have the legal right to decide who can take office, as the Bloomington City Council has done.
After receiving a legal opinion from their own corporate attorney that there are no issues in the law to prevent swearing in Alderman Judy Stearns, the Bloomington City Council simply ignored that opinion and voted to deny her anyway.
Controversies about taxes, hiring of an “expert” and a lot of hand-wringing about “concerns” do not matter in the law.
The vote they took has no basis in state law anywhere. It is a fundamental rejection of both tradition and legal duty to respect an election and be governed by the law, not personal opinion.
We send observers to third world countries to monitor just this kind of action, a political leader attempting to get around a legal election.
Our community and press seem unconcerned with this issue, which now looms much larger than Stearns property tax problems.
Whether Judy Stearns is a tax cheat or a citizen caught in a government mistake, the City Council’s action cannot be viewed as anything but arrogance and a complete lack of respect for the law.
If the mayor and council will not immediately withdraw this action and follow the law, unfortunately a court should order them to.
Lee Newcom, Bloomington