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Stafford School Board does not discuss Doreen Phillips' board status, and she does not attend Tuesday meeting
Date published: 10/10/2012
It was business as usual at Tuesday night's Stafford County School Board meeting even without the presence of member Doreen Phillips, whose seat on the board has been called into question recently after she changed her legal address.
Phillips, the Hartwood District representative since 2006, now has an address in the city of Fredericksburg and is registered to vote at that address, according to a letter sent to her last week by Stafford Voter Registrar Greg Riddlemoser.
In the letter he asked Phillips "to formally acknowledge that you have vacated your elected position."
Riddlemoser sent a similar letter to the clerk of the School Board and said the board might want to review votes she took over the last several months, because records indicate she has not been a Hartwood resident since June.
State code requires elected officials to be eligible to vote in the district they represent throughout their tenure.
Phillips could not be reached Tuesday night to find out why she missed the meeting.
Phillips has said she has applied to change her voter registration back to the county. Though she co-owns a house in the city, she is also leasing space on Poplar Road in the Hartwood District. She said she spends time at both.
As of Tuesday, Phillips' name was not among Stafford's 82,000 registered voters. Registrar Greg Riddlemoser said he could not disclose if she had submitted an application for registration in the county.
The School Board did not have discussion of Phillips' seat on its agenda Tuesday night.
Board Chairwoman Stephanie Johnson said that according to counsel from attorney Patrick Lacy, the board does not have jurisdiction to vacate the seat.
Only a circuit court judge or the individual elected official can vacate the seat, Johnson said, referring to Lacy's opinion.
She said the board is "following counsel's advice."
Efforts to reach representatives from the State Board of Elections for comment were unsuccessful.
Dave Andrews, a former registrar in Williamsburg, agreed that it's up to the court to declare a seat vacant--not a registrar.
"The code is pretty clear, if you move and if you're an elected official, you're no longer eligible to serve in your seat," said Andrews, who lives in Spotsylvania County.