20A-1-508.  Midterm vacancies in county elected offices — Temporary manager — Interim replacement.

(1)  As used in this section:

Terms Used In Utah Code 20A-1-508

  • Ballot: means the storage medium, including a paper, mechanical, or electronic storage medium, that records an individual voter's vote. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • County executive: means :Utah Code 68-3-12.5
  • County legislative body: means :Utah Code 68-3-12.5
  • Election: means a regular general election, a municipal general election, a statewide special election, a local special election, a regular primary election, a municipal primary election, and a local district election. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • Oath: includes "affirmation. See Utah Code 68-3-12.5
  • Political party: means an organization of registered voters that has qualified to participate in an election by meeting the requirements of Chapter 8, Political Party Formation and Procedures. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • Position: means a square, circle, rectangle, or other geometric shape on a ballot in which the voter marks the voter's choice. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • qualified: means to take the oath of office and begin performing the duties of the position for which the individual was elected. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • Regular general election: means the election held throughout the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year for the purposes established in Section 20A-1-201. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • Regular primary election: means the election, held on the date specified in Section 20A-1-201. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Vacancy: means the absence of a person to serve in any position created by statute, whether that absence occurs because of death, disability, disqualification, resignation, or other cause. See Utah Code 20A-1-102
(a) 

(i)  “County offices” includes the county executive, members of the county legislative body, the county treasurer, the county sheriff, the county clerk, the county auditor, the county recorder, the county surveyor, and the county assessor.

(ii)  “County offices” does not include the office of county attorney, district attorney, or judge.

(b)  “Party liaison” means the political party officer designated to serve as a liaison with each county legislative body on all matters relating to the political party’s relationship with a county as required by Section 20A-8-401.

(2) 

(a)  Except as provided in Subsection (2)(d), until a county legislative body appoints an interim replacement to fill a vacant county office under Subsection (3), the following shall temporarily discharge the duties of the county office as a temporary manager:

(i)  for a county office with one chief deputy, the chief deputy;

(ii)  for a county office with more than one chief deputy:

(A)  the chief deputy with the most cumulative time served as a chief deputy for the county office; or

(B)  notwithstanding Subsection (2)(a)(ii)(A), if, before the vacating county officer vacates the office, the county officer files with the county clerk a written statement designating one of the county officer’s chief deputies to discharge the duties of the county office in the event the county officer vacates the office, the designated chief deputy; or

(iii)  for a county office without a chief deputy:

(A)  if one management-level employee serving under the county office has a higher-seniority management level than any other employee serving under the county office, that management-level employee;

(B)  if two or more management-level employees serving under the county office have the same and highest-seniority management level, the highest-seniority management-level employee with the most cumulative time served in the employee’s current position; or

(C)  notwithstanding Subsection (2)(a)(iii)(A) or (B), if, before the vacating county officer vacates the office, the county officer files with the county clerk a written statement designating one of the county officer’s employees to discharge the county officer’s duties in the event the county officer vacates the office, the designated employee.

(b)  Except as provided in Subsection (2)(c), a temporary manager described in Subsection (2)(a) who temporarily discharges the duties of a county office holds the powers and duties of the county office until the county legislative body appoints an interim replacement under Subsection (3).

(c)  The temporary manager described in Subsection (2)(a) who temporarily discharges the duties of a county office:

(i)  may not take an oath of office for the county office as a temporary manager;

(ii)  shall comply with Title 17, Chapter 36, Uniform Fiscal Procedures Act for Counties, and the county’s budget ordinances and policies;

(iii)  unless approved by the county legislative body, may not change the compensation of an employee;

(iv)  unless approved by the county legislative body, may not promote or demote an employee or change an employee’s job title;

(v)  may terminate an employee only if the termination is conducted in accordance with:

(A)  personnel rules described in Subsection 17-33-5(3) that are approved by the county legislative body; and

(B)  applicable law;

(vi)  unless approved by the county legislative body, may not exceed by more than 5% an expenditure that was planned before the county office for which the temporary manager discharges duties was vacated;

(vii)  except as provided in Subsection (2)(c)(viii), may not receive a change in title or compensation; and

(viii)  if approved by the county legislative body, may receive a performance award after:

(A)  the county legislative body appoints an interim replacement under Subsection (3); and

(B)  the interim replacement is sworn into office.

(d)  This Subsection (2) does not apply to a vacancy in the office of county legislative body member.

(3) 

(a)  Until a replacement is selected as provided in this section and has qualified, the county legislative body shall appoint an interim replacement to fill the vacant office by following the procedures and requirements of this Subsection (3).

(b) 

(i)  To appoint an interim replacement, the county legislative body shall, within 10 days after the day on which the vacancy occurs, give notice of the vacancy to the party liaison of the same political party of the prior office holder and invite that party liaison to submit the name of an individual to fill the vacancy.

(ii)  That party liaison shall, before 5 p.m. within 30 days after the day on which the liaison receives the notice described in Subsection (3)(b)(i), or if the party liaison does not receive the notice, before 5 p.m. within 40 days after the day on which the vacancy occurs, submit to the county legislative body the name of an individual the party selects in accordance with the party’s constitution or bylaws to serve as the interim replacement.

(iii)  The county legislative body shall, no later than five days after the day on which a party liaison submits the name of the individual to serve as the interim replacement, appoint the individual to serve out the unexpired term.

(c) 

(i)  If the county legislative body fails to appoint an interim replacement to fill the vacancy in accordance with Subsection (3)(b)(iii), the county clerk shall, no later than five days after the day of the deadline described in Subsection (3)(b)(iii), send to the governor a letter that:

(A)  informs the governor that the county legislative body has failed to appoint a replacement within the statutory time period; and

(B)  contains the name of the individual submitted by the party liaison to fill the vacancy.

(ii)  The governor shall, within 10 days after the day on which the governor receives the letter described in Subsection (3)(c)(i), appoint the individual named by the party liaison as an interim replacement to fill the vacancy.

(d)  An individual appointed as interim replacement under this Subsection (3) shall hold office until a successor is elected and has qualified.

(4) 

(a)  The requirements of this Subsection (4) apply to all county offices that become vacant if:

(i)  the vacant office has an unexpired term of two years or more; and

(ii)  the vacancy occurs after the election at which the officeholder was elected but before the second Friday in March of the next even-numbered year.

(b) 

(i)  When the conditions described in Subsection (4)(a) are met, the county clerk shall as soon as practicable, but no later than 180 days before the next regular general election, notify the public and each registered political party that the vacancy exists.

(ii)  An individual intending to become a party candidate for the vacant office shall file a declaration of candidacy in accordance with:

(A)  Chapter 9, Part 2, Candidate Qualifications and Declarations of Candidacy; and

(B)  for a county commission office, Subsection 17-52a-201(6) or 17-52a-202(6), if applicable.

(iii)  An individual who is nominated as a party candidate, who qualifies as an unaffiliated candidate for the vacant office under Chapter 9, Part 5, Candidates not Affiliated with a Party, or who qualifies as a write-in candidate for the vacant office under Chapter 9, Part 6, Write-in Candidates, shall run in the regular general election.

(5) 

(a)  The requirements of this Subsection (5) apply to all county offices that become vacant if:

(i)  the vacant office has an unexpired term of two years or more; and

(ii)  the vacancy occurs on or after the second Friday in March of the next even-numbered year but more than 75 days before the regular primary election.

(b)  When the conditions described in Subsection (5)(a) are met, the county clerk shall as soon as practicable, but no later than 70 days before the next regular primary election, notify the public and each registered political party:

(i)  that the vacancy exists; and

(ii)  of the deadlines described in Subsection (5)(c)(i) and the deadlines established under Subsection (5)(d)(ii).

(c) 

(i)  An individual intending to become a party candidate for a vacant office shall, within five days after the day on which the notice is given, ending at the close of normal office hours on the fifth day, file a declaration of candidacy for the vacant office in accordance with:

(A)  Chapter 9, Part 2, Candidate Qualifications and Declarations of Candidacy; and

(B)  for a county commission office, Subsection 17-52a-201(6) or 17-52a-202(6), if applicable.

(ii)  The county central committee of each party shall:

(A)  select a candidate or candidates from among those qualified candidates who have filed declarations of candidacy; and

(B)  certify the name of the candidate or candidates to the county clerk as soon as practicable, but before 5 p.m. no later than 60 days before the day of the regular primary election.

(d) 

(i)  Except as provided in Subsection (5)(d)(ii), an individual intending to become a candidate for a vacant office who does not wish to affiliate with a registered political party shall file a verified certificate of nomination described in Section 20A-9-502 with the county clerk in accordance with Chapter 9, Part 5, Candidates not Affiliated with a Party.

(ii) 

(A)  The county clerk shall establish, in the clerk’s reasonable discretion, a deadline that is before 5 p.m. no later than 65 days before the day of the next regular general election by which an individual who is not affiliated with a registered political party is required to submit a certificate of nomination under Subsection (5)(d)(i).

(B)  The county clerk shall establish the deadline described in Subsection (5)(d)(ii)(A) in a manner that gives an unaffiliated candidate an equal opportunity to access the regular general election ballot.

(e)  An individual who is nominated as a party candidate for the vacant office, who qualifies as an unaffiliated candidate for the vacant office under Chapter 9, Part 5, Candidates not Affiliated with a Party, or who qualifies as a write-in candidate for the vacant office under Chapter 9, Part 6, Write-in Candidates, shall run in the regular general election.

(6) 

(a)  The requirements of this Subsection (6) apply to all county offices that become vacant:

(i)  if the vacant office has an unexpired term of two years or more; and

(ii)  when 75 days or less remain before the day of the regular primary election but more than 65 days remain before the day of the regular general election.

(b)  When the conditions described in Subsection (6)(a) are met, the county clerk shall, as soon as practicable, notify the public and each registered political party:

(i)  that the vacancy exists; and

(ii)  of the deadlines established under Subsection (6)(d).

(c) 

(i)  Before the deadline that the county clerk establishes under Subsection (6)(d)(i)(A), the county central committee of each registered political party that wishes to submit a candidate for the office shall certify the name of one candidate to the county clerk for placement on the regular general election ballot.

(ii)  Before the deadline that the county clerk establishes under Subsection (6)(d)(i)(B), a candidate who does not wish to affiliate with a registered political party shall file a verified certificate of nomination described in Section 20A-9-502 with the county clerk in accordance with Chapter 9, Part 5, Candidates not Affiliated with a Party.

(iii)  Before the deadline that the county clerk establishes under Subsection (6)(d)(i)(C), a write-in candidate shall submit to the county clerk a declaration of candidacy described in Section 20A-9-601.

(d) 

(i)  The county clerk shall establish, in the clerk’s reasonable discretion, deadlines that are before 5 p.m. no later than 65 days before the day of the next regular general election by which:

(A)  a registered political party is required to certify a name under Subsection (6)(c)(i);

(B)  an individual who does not wish to affiliate with a registered political party is required to submit a certificate of nomination under Subsection (6)(c)(ii); and

(C)  a write-in candidate is required to submit a declaration of candidacy under Subsection (6)(c)(iii).

(ii)  The county clerk shall establish deadlines under Subsection (6)(d)(i) in a manner that gives an unaffiliated candidate or a write-in candidate an equal opportunity to access the regular general election ballot.

(e)  An individual who is certified as a party candidate for the vacant office, who qualifies as an unaffiliated candidate for the vacant office under Chapter 9, Part 5, Candidates not Affiliated with a Party, or who qualifies as a write-in candidate for the vacant office under Chapter 9, Part 6, Write-in Candidates, shall run in the regular general election.

(7) 

(a)  The requirements of this Subsection (7) apply to all county offices that become vacant:

(i)  if the vacant office has an unexpired term of less than two years; or

(ii)  if the vacant office has an unexpired term of two years or more but 65 days or less remain before the day of the next regular general election.

(b) 

(i)  When the conditions described in Subsection (7)(a) are met, the county legislative body shall as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 days after the day on which the vacancy occurs, give notice of the vacancy to the party liaison of the same political party as the prior office holder and invite that party liaison to submit the name of an individual to fill the vacancy.

(ii)  That party liaison shall, before 5 p.m. within 30 days after the day on which the party liaison receives the notice described in Subsection (7)(b)(i), or if the party liaison does not receive the notice, before 5 p.m. no later than 40 days after the day on which the vacancy occurs, submit to the county legislative body the name of an individual to fill the vacancy.

(iii)  The county legislative body shall, no later than five days after the day on which a party liaison submits the name of the individual to fill the vacancy, appoint the individual to serve out the unexpired term.

(c) 

(i)  If the county legislative body fails to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy in accordance with Subsection (7)(b)(iii), the county clerk shall send to the governor a letter that:

(A)  informs the governor that the county legislative body has failed to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy within the statutory time period; and

(B)  contains the name of the individual submitted by the party liaison to fill the vacancy.

(ii)  The governor shall, within 10 days after the day on which the governor receives the letter described in Subsection (7)(c)(i), appoint the individual named by the party liaison to fill the vacancy.

(d)  An individual appointed to fill the vacancy under this Subsection (7) shall hold office until a successor is elected and has qualified.

(8)  Except as otherwise provided by law, the county legislative body may appoint replacements to fill all vacancies that occur in those offices filled by appointment of the county legislative body.

(9)  Nothing in this section prohibits a candidate that does not wish to affiliate with a political party from filing a certificate of nomination for a vacant office within the same time limits as a candidate that is affiliated with a political party.

(10) 

(a)  Each individual elected under Subsection (4), (5), or (6) to fill a vacancy in a county office shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term of the individual who created the vacancy and until a successor is elected and qualified.

(b)  Nothing in this section may be construed to contradict or alter the provisions of Section 17-16-6.

Amended by Chapter 212, 2019 General Session, (Coordination Clause)
Amended by Chapter 212, 2019 General Session
Amended by Chapter 255, 2019 General Session