Council member Molly Carmody resigns after council member EJ Curry challenges residency
- Editor’s note: The City of Yelm is under the “lame duck” direction of Mayor Foster, and tonight’s council activity adds to his legacy of poor management and leadership.
- For Foster to allow a councilor to question another councilor’s residency using conjecture and in an accusatory manner without knowing the regulations, and not intervening as a leader, was another indictment of his mayoral tenure.
- EJ Curry challenged Carmody’s residency and quantification to continue to serve.
- If the election results are certified November 23rd, tonight will be Curry’s last council session, replaced by councilor-elect Josh Crossman.
- Councilor Carmody responded to City Attorney Brent Dille’s opinion to the council, then resigned eff. Dec. 1.
- City Council member Blair expressed his disapproval of the way Carmody was treated, and described that when Councilor Stillwell purchased property outside of Yelm, and subsequently built a house, no one questioned his residency, particularly that he sold his home and lived elsewhere in the city until moving into his house outside of Yelm.
- In my opinion, Councilor Carmody was railroaded with an ulterior motive and parting shot by Curry.
For context, this began at the council’s study session of November 2, 2021:
* Yelm Councilor Carmody responds to Councilor Curry’s residency challenges,
* Curry requested Carmody to resign, without due diligence,
* The timing of Curry’s accusations was suspect from the start!
At the beginning of the council session tonight, November 9, 2021, Councilor Carmody read this into the record:
TO: Yelm City Council Mayor Foster City Attorney Dille November 9, 2021 Please note that I will be reading this letter into the record at today’s City Council meeting. I repudiate these few council members’, Mayor Foster’s, and Mr. Grayum’s attempt to oust me from my position in Yelm city council. I reject the city attorney’s half-hearted attempt at a legal argument against my residency. Mr. Dille’s letter crafts the argument that one must either live in a house or an apartment, or other traditional dwelling in order to be a member of city council. This is patently false under the very same title of state law that he cited. Under RCW 35A.12.030, a person is eligible for elected office if she is a registered voter and has been a resident of the city for at least one year. I am a registered voter. I have been a resident of the city for 11 years. I sold my house in July. First I moved into my office building; then, when I was told that I could not reside there, I moved into my camper, which is located on private property inside the city limits. I have maintained my residency in Yelm throughout this time. According to RCW 29A.08.112, persons without traditional residential addresses may register as voters in a location that they deem to be their residence. I quote: “(1) No person registering to vote […] shall be disqualified because he or she lacks a traditional residential address. A voter who lacks a traditional residential address will be registered and assigned to a precinct based on the location provided. (2) For the purposes of this section, a voter who resides in a shelter, park, motor home, marina, unmarked home, or other identifiable location that the voter deems to be his or her residence lacks a traditional address. A voter who registers under this section must provide a valid mailing address.” In addition, RCW 29A.08.010 states that […] The minimum information provided on a voter registration application that is required in order to place a voter registration applicant on the voter registration rolls includes: (a) Name; (b) Residential address; (c) Date of birth; (d) A signature attesting to the truth of the information provided on the application; and (e) A check or indication in the box confirming the individual is a United States citizen. (2) The residential address provided must identify the actual physical residence of the voter in Washington, as defined in RCW 29A.04.151 […]. A residential address may be either a traditional address or a nontraditional address. A traditional address consists of a street number and name, optional apartment number or unit number, and city or town […]. A nontraditional address consists of a narrative description of the location of the voter's residence, and may be used when a traditional address has not been assigned or affixed to the voter's residence […]. (3) All other information supplied is ancillary and not to be used as grounds for not registering an applicant to vote. In other words, there is NO requirement that I live anywhere for 4 days or 5 days or even 7 days out of the week. According to state law, I reside where I say that I reside, and I say to you that I reside in Yelm. I do not reside in Chehalis. If I do change my residency, I will most certainly change my voter registration, and resign from my seat on Council, at the same time. Mr. Dille’s use of the Revised Code of Washington is inadequate in that he neglects to fully research the matter, and in that he neglects to cite the particular section of the code that applies to this situation, in order to support this manufactured outrage and retaliatory political gamesmanship. That being said, I hereby tender my resignation for the City of Yelm, city council, effective December 1, 2021. Click here for the council video. ========================================================================
Attorney Brent Dille’s letter garnering Councilor Carmody’s above response, read into the council record:
“You have asked for a legal opinion as to whether a councilmember can live outside his/her jurisdiction and remain in office? RCW 42.12.010 provides that one of the causes of a vacancy is if an elected official ceases to be a legally registered voter of the city from which he or she shall have been elected. To continue to be a legally registered voter, a person must maintain residence in the precinct in which he or she is registered. See RCW 29A.08.010(2). “Residence” in this context means “a person’s permanent address where he or she physically resides and maintains his or her abode.” RCW 29A.04.151. Based on case law, residency requires actual presence and the intent to make a particular place one’s residence. Legally, an individual may only have one permanent residence at any one time; you can’t legally be a registered voter in two places at the same time and vote in both places. In order to establish a new legal residence, the individual must not only move his/her physical residence, but the move must be combined with an intention to abandon the old residence and establish a new permanent residence. As I understand the issue at hand, Councilmember Carmody has purchased a new property in Chehalis, Lewis County. In last week’s study session, when asked about her new home in Centralia, Councilmember Carmody stated that she was living in her RV at least four days a week on private property in the City. Based on RCW 29A.040.151, simply living within the city limits in an RV for 4 days per week does not constitute a person’s primary residence. Consequently she should no longer be considered to be a resident of the City of Yelm.”