Houk to resign at year’s end

by nathan oster

Greybull Mayor Frank Houk has announced his intent to leave office at the end of this year, which would be halfway through the four-year term he was elected to serve.

“I have appreciated the opportunity to serve the community these past 9 ½ years and I plan to finish this year,” he said in a statement. “I do not plan to serve the remaining two years on my term after this year.

“I do plan to spend more time with my children, grandchildren, my church and other friends in this community.”

Houk is in his second term as mayor.  Prior to that, he served on the council, and before that, for 20 years as Greybull’s superintendent of schools.

This is, of course, a municipal election year, and the filing window is now open at Town Hall for two seats on the council that will expire Dec. 31. Those seats are currently held by Kay Fleek and Jan Johnson, neither of whom is seeking re-election.

As of Tuesday at noon, no one had filed for either vacancy. The filing period closes at the end of the business day Friday, June 1.

Houk had hoped that candidates would be able to file for mayor, just as they could for council, during the current filing period, and that a two-year term as mayor would appear on the primary and general election ballots for voters to decide.

That will not be the case, however.

Big Horn County Clerk Dori Noyes said that with no formal notification of a vacancy, it will fall back on the town to decide the process for filing it.

Town Attorney Scott McColloch said the state statutes are clear.

“A vacancy in the office of mayor is filled from the governing body,” according to statute, meaning that one of the four council members would need to be appointed mayor.

And that council member’s appointment, according to statute, would create a vacancy (on the council) and that is filled by the governing body, who is to serve until a successor is elected at the next general election.”

Bob Graham and Bob McGuire will be the holdovers on the council when 2013 begins, with each of them having two years remaining on their four-year terms.