Residents to Submit Petition to Review Marion Mayor's Residency

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

Marion City Hall (Google Street View)

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By Aaron Hepker

MARION, Iowa - A group of residents will submit a petition to the Marion City Council Thursday night to request a hearing to determine if Mayor Allen “Snooks” Bouska meets the residency requirements in accordance with a state code.

Jodi Treharne said Thursday she will submit the petition signed by more than 100 residents on behalf of Citizens for a Better Marion. Treharne said the group, who hired an attorney, has been “investigating” the residency issue.

Treharne, wife of Tom Treharne, director of Marion's planning and development, at last month’s meeting questioned whether Bouska actually lived at a Marion house he owns or lives at 150 19th Ave. in Hiawatha, a home he has owned since 1996.

Treharne said when Bouska ran for office he met all the legal requirements – having the “intent” to live in Marion, according to the code. But two years later, as mayor his “intent” should have turned into action, she said.

“We have consulted with the State of Iowa and they directed us to the state code that protects a situation such as this,” Treharne said. “It allows a city council to declare a ‘vacancy’ for a particular office should an incumbent elected official not meet the residency requirements.”

According to state code, what constitutes a vacancy is if an elected official is no longer a resident of the state, county, district, township or city for which they are elected.

If there is a petition signed by 25 registered voters in Marion, the city council will have a hearing within 30 days to review whether a vacancy exists, according to code. The public hearing should be held not more than 14 days after publication of the notice.

The council will accept and file the petition and will set a hearing later, City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said Thursday morning. There will be no discussion at this meeting.

Bouska said Thursday before the hearing he didn’t have a comment, except to say that the council will address it.

At the last meeting, Bouska said he has tried to follow the “intent” of the law.

Bouska's residency was first questioned when he ran for mayor in 2011, but a city panel ruled Bouska's apartment qualified him to run.

Bouska told KCRG last month the "official" mayor's home is in Marion, despite the fact that he still owns a home in Hiawatha. He called the Hiawatha home an investment, one of several properties he owns in the area.

Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said last month that Bouska is a registered voter in Marion and hasn't violated any state law.

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