Needles To Replace First Term Council Resignee Hazlewood On January 14

The Needles City Council at its January 14 meeting is scheduled to make an appointment to replace Councilman Clayton Hazlewood, who abruptly resigned just prior to the council’s December 10 meeting, after three years in office.
Hazlewood  tendered his quitclaim to office in writing. His terse letter, dated December 10 and posted from the Oak Tree Inn at 1706 Park Drive in Winslow Arizona, stated, “Honorable Mayor and Council Members,  Effective immediately I am resigning from the city council. Sincerely, Clayton Hazlewood.”
No reason for Hazlewood’s decision to leave office was given.
In Needles, the city council consists of six voting members and an elected mayor who serves as the panel’s presiding officer and has veto power but is not empowered to vote except in the event of a tie. On December 10, Mayor Jeff Williams and Councilman Zachery Longacre were ill and did not attend the meeting. Given Hazlewood’s departure from office, the council did not have a quorum of voting members and the council therefore could not take up any of the items scheduled for discussion and a vote at that meeting.
The council normally meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. Because of the cancellation of the December 10 meeting and the encroaching holidays, the December 10 meeting was adjourned to a special meeting on December 17, at which point the council accepted Hazlewood’s resignation.
Needles City Clerk Dale Jones told the Sentinel that the city council is scheduled to take up filling the vacancy among its ranks at the January 14, 2020 meeting. Any Needles resident registered to vote is eligible to apply for the council position. Jones said the council would likely consider any applicant showing interest in the position right up until the time of the meeting. She said, the interviews of applicants followed by the appointment vote will be the first two orders of business at the January 14 meeting, such that the appointed member will then be immediately sworn into office and take part as a voting member with regard to the remaining items on the council agenda for that night.
Jones said she was setting a deadline of January 7 for applicants who wanted to receive a copy of the agenda and the back-up material on the items it involves. She said she will provide that agenda packet to any of those who make an application for the appointment by January 7, so the candidate who is chosen will be able to make informed decisions on the issues the council will consider on January 14.
“If someone applies after January 7 or even shows up on the night of the meeting, the council will have the option of considering that candidate, but I will not have been able to provide that person with the agenda and its materials,” she said.
By statute, the city council has 30 days from the acceptance of Hazlewood’s resignation to appoint a replacement or declare and schedule a special election for that purpose. According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, holding an election would set taxpayers back roughly $20,000. Accordingly, the city council elected to advertise the vacancy, accept applications or letters of interest, conduct interviews of those applicants and make the appointment on January 14, two days shy of the deadline to do so.
Hazlewood was elected to the council in the November 8, 2016 election, placing third in a nine candidate race in which three positions on the council were at stake. Hazlewood garnered 484 votes, good for 14.06 percent, behind Shawn Gudmundson, who garnered 515 votes of 14.96 percent, and top vote-getter Tona Belt, who captured 583 votes for 16.93 percent. In that race, Hazlewood outdistanced former councilwomen Linda Kidd and Ruth Musser-Lopez. He also defeated Tim Terral, who was elected to the council two years later.

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