Does an elected local government
official automatically vacate his office if he moves outside out of the
municipality or aldermanic district for which he was elected?
No. Determining whether a public official
is or is not a resident of a municipality or an aldermanic district
requires an evaluation of the surrounding circumstances to determine the
public official’s intent.
Intent may be evidenced to some degree by
the circumstances surrounding the move. For example, if a public
official needed to move outside the municipality or aldermanic district
due to the destruction of his or her home, financial problems or other
similar circumstances and the official indicated and demonstrated a
clear intent to move back into the municipality or district at the
earliest opportunity, then the official should probably not be deemed to
have vacated his office due to lack of residency.
Intent may also be demonstrated by other
factors. For example, if the official has children in school, a relevant
consideration would be whether the children continue to attend their
old school or now attend a new school. Another factor would be the legal
arrangement of his or her current housing. Did the official purchase a
new home outside the district or municipality or is he/she renting? If
the official is renting, is the lease term lengthy or short?
There is no bright line test for
determining whether public officials are still residents of a
municipality or aldermanic district for purposes of retaining their
office when they have moved out of the municipality or district.
Instead, such determinations must be made on a case-by-case basis after
considering all relevant factors and circumstances surrounding the
relocation to ascertain the official’s true intent.