Official won’t quit NC post yet
Niel Locke is likely to be sworn in as Nevada City’s treasurer, a position that will allow him to sign checks if no one else is available and to explain the city’s finances to those interested.
Gene Downing, the incumbent who lost the election March 5, wants the swearing-in ceremony postponed. His term ends in June – not this month – the retired U.S. Air Force officer said.
Downing was re-elected in June 1998, for a four-year term. The municipal elections date was changed when the state’s primary election was moved from June to March.
“Why would they kick me out of office three months early?” said Downing, who has written a letter to the city which will be read at Monday’s City Council meeting. “On what legal authority do they have to shorten my term?”
“Until I serve eight years, I ‘m still there,” he said.
Elected officials’ terms should not be arbitrarily changed, he said. “It has to do with the rule of law.”
Locke, the apparent winner with 518 votes – five more than Downing – said he was surprised at Downing’s move. As of Thursday, Locke, co-owner of a coffee shop on Broad Street, had not seen Downing’s letter.
City Attorney James Anderson on Thursday said he had not had time to look into the matter.
In the letter, Downing also requested that late absentee votes be counted. The ballots were late because of the U.S. Postal Service, he said
Lorraine Jewett-Burdick, the county clerk-recorder, on Friday said five Nevada City absentee ballots came in too late to be counted.
In a March 14 letter to County Counsel Charles McKee, Jewett-Burdick requested an opinion on whether the county should pursue a court order to tally the late ballots.
But on Friday, McKee told The Union the late ballots cannot be opened.
“There is no grounds for (Jewett-Burdick) to seek any remedy in the courts,” he said.
“The ballots should remain sealed. The voters of the county can contest an election under certain circumstances that don’t appear to apply in this case. That’s for the voters to decide, not county counsel or the election official.”
Alfie Charles, a spokesman for the secretary of state, on Friday said his office does not recall a court ordering that late ballots be counted.
Jewett-Burdick said the election could be certified Thursday.
– The Union reporter Kevin Wiser contributed
to this story
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User