Excerpted from The Tribune story by Tyler Silvy
The Greeley City Council on Tuesday directed city staff to conduct national background checks on city council candidates going forward, and asked staff to develop tougher, more punitive language on candidate affidavits in an effort to prevent candidates from lying about qualifications.
The direction, coming during a Tuesday evening work session, takes place in the shadow of Greeley residents electing a convicted felon to the at-large council seat in November 2017.
City council members on Tuesday discussed the timing, process and conclusions of revelations that Eddie Mirick had a felony conviction, news first reported by The Tribune in the days leading up to the election. Mirick was elected four days after The Tribune reported his felony conviction. He took office a month later. He served for one month before a Weld District Court Judge overturned the election and removed him from the Greeley City Council.
In many respects, there’s little that can be done to prevent a similar issue.
» Mirick’s felony, for forgery, is 40 years old and took place in California, which doesn’t allow reporting agencies like one Greeley would hire to report information beyond seven years of the infraction.
» The city can’t change timelines associated with contesting a candidate’s qualifications without opting out of the coordinated election process with Weld County. Opting out would cost $25,000 more per election, on top of costs associated with leasing election equipment and hiring necessary staff to manage elections.
For council members, though, something had to be done. The election put a convicted felon in office for a month and cost the city $12,772 when council members voted to repay residents’ legal expenses after those residents took the case to court.
Further, because the revelations came so late in the process and Mirick was able to win the election and be sworn in to the council, Stacy Suniga, his opponent who was eventually appointed once Mirick was removed, must now run for re-election next year rather than serving the four-year term for which she campaigned.
You can read the full story here.