Nampa Mayor Bob Henry said Wednesday that the votes cast by Kelly Gibbons while she was serving on the Nampa City Council will still count, despite the fact that she was not a Nampa resident.
Gibbons resigned suddenly on June 13 after learning that the home she resides in is technically within Caldwell city limits. She took office Jan. 3 after Henry recommended her to fill City Council Seat 3.
The city reported that Gibbons was renting a home in the Blackhawk Subdivision but learned that the subdivision near Ustick and Middleton roads is within the Caldwell city limits, despite having a Nampa mailing address. Both she and Henry apologized for the error, saying they were unaware that Gibbons did not live within the designated district.
Henry said City Attorney Mark Hilty reviewed laws pertaining to whether Gibbons’ votes should still stand, and it was his opinion that her votes are valid.
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“(Hilty’s opinion was) they are legal votes and we’re moving forward,” Henry told the Statesman. “Council had no objection to it, so the Kelly Gibbons issue is behind us. Her votes will stand and we are moving forward from there.”
There wasn’t a formal vote on whether to accept Hilty’s conclusion, but there was no objection.
Thus far, no one has challenged the city on whether Gibbons’ votes were valid, Henry said.
The votes may be challenged in court, leaving a judge to review it, but Henry noted that people could challenge both whether they are valid or invalid votes.
During the June 19 regular council meeting, Hilty advised the council members that he reviewed all of her votes and Gibbons almost always voted with the clear majority.
Hilty told council members that Gibbons made an honest mistake, and determining whether her votes should be considered invalid “really hinges on intent.”
While most of Gibbons’ votes over the last five months were not tie-breaking, there was at least one issue that the council was torn on and that she could have affected.
Gibbons voted in favor of reconsidering a request to change a 28-unit housing plan near Colorado Avenue to a 50-unit low-income housing plan, resulting in a tie that Henry then broke with a vote in favor of reconsideration.
If Gibbons had not voted, it would have been three votes to deny the reconsideration and two votes in favor, Hilty told council members, according to an audio recording of the public meeting.
During the council’s June 19 meeting, the Colorado Gardens housing plan came up for reconsideration on the council’s regular agenda as a public hearing.
After lengthy testimony was heard in the meeting, City Council members voted 2-2, as Councilwoman Sandi Levi was absent. Henry broke the tie in favor of approving the housing agreement modification.
Following Gibbons’ resignation, Nampa City Council Seat 3 will remain vacant until the November election.