Does an elected local government official automatically vacate his or her office if s/he moves outside out of the municipality or aldermanic district for which s/he was elected?
No. Determining whether a public official is or is not a resident of a municipality or an aldermanic district requires evaluating 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 or her office due to lack of residency.
Other factors may also indicate intent. 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 s/he 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.
For more information on determining residency of officials, see Governing Bodies 335R2, the Municipality, p. 22 (July 2018).