What is a de facto officer?
When irregularities in an officer’s
election or appointment are subsequently discovered (e.g., an officer
fails to file an official oath or an officer continues to serve even
though the officer’s term has expired and the officer is not entitled to
hold over until a successor is appointed and qualifies), the officer is
usually considered a de facto
officer. Accordingly the courts have described a de facto
officer as: "one who is in possession of an office and discharging its
duties under color of authority. By color of authority is meant
authority derived from an election or appointment, however irregular or
informal, so that the incumbent be not a mere volunteer." Schoonover v. City of Viroqua
, 245 Wis. 239, 244, 14 N.W.2d 9 (1944) (citations omitted). See also State ex rel. Reynolds v. Smith
, 22 Wis. 2d 516, 522, 126 N.W.2d 215 (1964); Joyce v. Town of Tainter
, 2000 WI App. 15, 232 Wis. 2d 349, 606 N.W.2d 284 (1999).