Council will have final determination on future of Sean Kelly

Staff will present options based on admission councilmember moved out of the city three months ago
By Dan Aznoff | Nov 27, 2017

The city manager and city attorney in Mill Creek are expected to present members of the City Council with alternatives to deal with a vacancy on the council based on a ruling by the Snohomish County Canvassing Board that Sean Kelly was not qualified to run for re-election.

This board’s ruling did not alter the results of the 2017 General Election. Kelly received approximately 72 percent of the votes in his bid for a second term on the council.

Following a brief public hearing and an even shorter deliberation, the Snohomish County Canvasing Board ruled unanimously last month to invalidate Kelly’s voter registration after the councilmember testified that he had moved out of the city three months ago and officially resides in Snohomish.

When asked direct questions by Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jason Cummings about his residency, Kelly reluctantly replied that he has been living outside Mill Creek city limits since July 28, 2017.

Cummings emphasized that Kelly’s testimony was the determining factor in the canvasing board’s decision to rescind Kelly’s voter registration.

A spokesperson for the city told The Beacon that City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto and City Attorney Scott Missall have worked to prepare a list of options for the council to deal with the situation.

“We are all aware of the ruling by the Canvasing Board,” said Director of Communications and Marketing Joni Kirk. “We are all anxious to get past this issue and get back to regular city business.”

The Voter Registration hearing was held to address the challenge filed by Carmen Fisher, the Kelly’s opponent in the Nov. 7 general election.

In her challenge filed on Oct. 27, Fisher claimed, “Kelly remains a Mill Creek property owner, but not a Mill Creek resident. Accordingly, his Voter Registration should be found invalid and updated to reflect his new address.”

Snohomish County Elections Manager Garth Fell pointed out that Fisher will not automatically be named the winner of the election by default if Kelly is unable to fulfill his term.

Kelly’s residency has been in question since September when he told Mill Creek Beacon Publisher Paul Archipley that he had moved to Snohomish. The councilmember has repeatedly dodged questions regarding his residency posed by reporters from The Beacon as well as editors from the website News of Mill Creek.

Colleagues on the council confirmed that Kelly has avoid the subject behind closed doors during executive sessions.

Fisher, who identifies herself as an attorney and entrepreneur, said she would be “extremely disappointed” if she is not appointed to fulfill Kelly’s four-year term.

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