Thursday, August 12, 2010


Star-Advertiser on Bunda resignation

by Larry Geller

So far (Thursday evening), the only media coverage of the challenge to Sen. Robert Bunda’s candidacy for Lt. Governor that I’m aware of has been Star-Advertiser reporter Derrick DePledge’s two blog posts, Afters and Retiring (8/12/2010). Possibly there will be an article in tomorrow’s paper.

DePledge did a good job contacting those involved in the controversy. I think, though, that the fundamental question of whether Bunda did resign is not resolved. For example, from Retiring:

Richard Rapoza, a spokesman for Senate Democrats, said the Senate clerk has treated Bunda’s actions as a resignation.

“There’s more to resigning than just sending in a letter,” he said.

For example, he said, Bunda signed to cancel his health insurance. He filed retirement forms. He canceled his parking at the state Capitol. He returned his Capitol key cards and keys.

The Senate clerk, he said, informed the state Department of Accounting and General Services. Bunda received his last paycheck — for July 16 only — on Aug. 5.

Actually… I don’t think returning key cards and keys is what the Constitution had in mind when it required an officeholder to resign. Conventionally, this is done with a piece of paper to effectuate the action.

Also, now that the question has arisen, it’s hard to see that patching together all those indications of resignation fulfills the requirement—particularly if Bunda did those things after July 16. I don’t know if DePledge asked about that, but it is somewhat relevant. When DAGS delivered Bunda’s last paycheck clearly isn’t.

I can imagine a candidate saying, for example, “Darn, forgot to resign, better take care of all of this now.”

At the time Bunda visited the Office of Elections and affirmed that he had resigned, he should already have done so.

Well, there’s a challenge now, perhaps that will resolve things.


I think when they say resigning means "relinquishing" one's office they mean something other than the relinquishing the keys to the office.

Hi Larry,

I am not sure what remedy people are seeking here.

I am reminded of the Just War doctrine. A war is not justified if the likely consequence of engaging in battle is to create more injustice and suffering than would exist without a war. (Yep, that's a high bar).

I think Bunda's "resignation" is ambiguous enough that I would have to shift to that question if I were in charge of deciding the question: what remedy is being sought?

Who knows what will happen. If anything does, you'll read about it here.

This comment has been removed by the author.

My latest take on all this is here. The Senate controls its own destiny here.

I think everyone may be missing the point here. It's not when or even whether Bunda resigned. it's when or whether he provided the office of elections proof- or at least a claim to be verified- of his resignation thus allowing him to run for another office.

It's election law we're dealing with here. The elections office apparently allowed him to run for Lt. Governor without ascertaining whether in fact he had resigned his senate seat. He certainly did not submit proof before the filing deadline.

If the Calwell fiasco is any precedent it apparently doesn't matter what the elections office.initially says or does to allow or disallow a filing, It matters only whether the letter of the law was followed or not.

Andy, if I understand this correctly, any candidate just affirms that he has resigned, and that's enough for the Office of Elections unless there is a challenge.

Now there is a challenge saying that Bunda didn't resign, the Office of Elections will decide if the matter should be forwarded to the court.

The easiest thing would be for them to say, Nah, and not forward it to the court. Look at all the work it makes for them, not only in the Lt. Gov's race, but if he wants his old job back in the Senate, it upsets that race. The ballot will look like swiss cheese.

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