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Foster seated as Quartzsite’s Mayor
Town Magistrate Lawrence King swore in Foster. As he took his seat on
the dais, Foster jokingly said, “Let’s see if I remember how to do
The council also voted to rescind their appointment of a
chair and vice-chair for the council meetings. Following the
recommendation of Councilwoman Pat Workman, Councilman Mike Jewitt was
appointed Vice Mayor.
This will be Foster’s second stint as
Mayor. He was originally elected in May 2010. He lost a recall election
to former Councilman Jose Lizarraga in August 2011.
for a new term in 2012. He won the general election May 15, defeating
Jerry Lukkasson, 401 votes to 315. On June 4, the council declared
Foster and another candidate, Mark Orgeron, not qualified to hold
elected office in the town. In Foster’s case, it was because he owed a
court judgment against the town. This was a violation of a section of
the town code, 2-1-10, which states persons who owe delinquent fees,
taxes, or fines to the town cannot serve in elected office.
was declared ineligible as the council said he didn’t meet residency
requirements, and he sued in federal court. U.S. District Judge Roslyn
O. Silver issued a ruling July 20 that he was a resident of Quartzsite.
He was sworn in and seated on the council July 27.
for a “Writ of Mandamus” (Latin “We command”) in La Paz County Superior
Court requesting a court order that he be seated as Mayor. In oral
arguments Oct. 17, Foster’s attorney, Julie La Benz, said the town’s
ordinance was illegal in that it went beyond the qualifications for
elected office set by Arizona Revised Statutes and the Arizona
The attorney representing the town, Kristin Mackin
of the firm of Sims Murray, said Foster was aware of the ordinance and
the court judgment when he filed his nominating papers. She said the
council performed its legally required duties in judging the election
and the qualifications of the candidates.
Superior Court Judge
Michael Burke ruled in Foster’s favor. He cited a U.S. Supreme Court
case, Powell v. McCormack, in which the court ruled the U.S. House of
Representatives did not have authority to set qualifications for its
members beyond those set by the U.S. Constitution. By analogy, Burke
said the council had no authority to set qualifications higher than
those set by state law and the Arizona Constitution.
Burke ordered Foster seated by the Oct. 23 regular council meeting. He was also awarded attorneys’ fees.
stated after the court hearing the town has a lot of problems. The most
recent of these was the announcement from the Arizona Municipal Risk
Retention Pool that the town’s insurance had been canceled, mostly due
to the volume of litigation claims against the town. Foster said he
hoped to work towards getting the town’s finances in order and getting
the insurance restored.
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