Rules for Missouri Ambulance Districts
AD elections for directors are held on municipal election day, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April (115.121.3). This minimizes costs because election costs are divided proportionally among all entities holding elections on that particular day (115.063; 115.065; 115.077). The April election has the greatest number of potential ballot issues, with the schools, cities and all districts participating.
Besides April, other available election days for ADs are in the following months:
- February (only for bond issues and limited other purposes);
- August; and
With two exceptions, AD boards are responsible to call for all elections. If the county clerk or board of election commissioners reminds an AD board of its responsibility for a director election, it is only as a courtesy. If an AD board forgets to call for a director election, the AD’s attorney will have to petition the court for a resolution, which could include reprinting ballots if the court allows for a special, abbreviated filing period, or more likely, holding an August or special election (which could be more expensive if there is no other local government to share the election costs). Either way, the resolution will usually come with a court admonishment for the AD board to never forget to call for a director election again.
A recall election, along with the election of a replacement director if the recall is successful, is the responsibility of the county clerk or board of election commissioners, not the AD (see Chapter IV. Initiative, Referendum and Recall).
Elections are conducted by the county clerk or the board of election commissioners. In fact, the law says that county clerks and boards of election commissioners are the election authority (115.015), which gives them broad jurisdiction over AD elections.
Other AD elections include:
|Property and sales taxes, including pensions||190.040.1; 190.041; 190.074|
|Increase or decrease of directors||190.051|
|Annexation into an AD||190.070|
Payments for estimated election costs are due to the county clerk or board of election commissioners the third Tuesday before the election. After the election, overpayments are to be promptly refunded or any remainder due must be paid by the fifth Tuesday after the election (115.077.2).
ADs are eligible to have mail-in elections in certain circumstances. This provision allows the county clerk or board of election commissioners to conduct an election by mail if requested in writing by the AD; however, mail-in elections are only allowed when the election does not involve an elected official being recalled or a candidate, and when only the AD voters are voting. That is, there are no other jurisdiction’s questions on the ballot.
Posts to be filled
The only publicly elected officials of an AD are the board members. Everyone else is elected, appointed, designated or hired by the board, including the office staff, EMS chief, volunteers, the secretary, the treasurer and custodian of records (if not board members). After the original board completes staggered terms, so that all members will not come up for election at the same time, terms are for three years.
Unless an AD qualifies for “at-large” directors (190.050.2), every 10 years, the declaring county commission must reapportion AD election districts within 60 days after the population of the county is reported to the governor from the United States Census (190.050.1).
ADs are eligible to have a nonelection. This provision allows local governments having nonpartisan elections to skip holding an election if the number of candidates who file is no greater than the number of open seats (115.124; 190.050.1). When these conditions are met, no election is needed, and the candidate is declared elected without ever appearing on a ballot or any votes being cast. The candidate assumes the responsibilities of o?ce at the same time and in the same manner as if he or she had been elected.
This provision can cause problems. In one fire protection district, a woman thought no one was filing for a board seat that was coming open. Rather than see it blank on the ballot, she filed. Later, when someone who was more serious about the position filed, she offered to drop out. The board, eager to save the costs of an election, offered to reimburse her costs for getting a court order to remove her name. She became suspicious of the board’s motives and changed her mind about withdrawing.
Order of events
The sequence in which a new AD director is elected (or an incumbent AD director re-elected) and takes office is laid out by law.
- The current AD board calls for the director election and the candidate filing period, which works out to be mid-December to mid-January, because the law says the filing period opens the 16th Tuesday before the election and closes the 11th Tuesday before the election (115.127.5).
- The AD publishes a newspaper notice of the director election, candidate filing period, and the proper place for filing, which is either at the AD headquarters for the secretary to the AD board, if the AD is in more than one county, or at the county courthouse for the county clerk if the AD is in just one county (115.127.5; 190.050.3).
- During mid-December to mid-January, candidates file declarations of their candidacy with either the secretary to the AD board if the AD is in more than one county or with the county clerk if the AD is in just one county (190.050.3). The declaration of candidacy is an oath that the candidate possess all the qualifications for o?ce (130.071; 190.050.3; 321.017). There is no filing fee for AD board candidates.
- In late January, no later than 5 p.m. on the 10th Tuesday before the election (a week after the candidate filing period ends), the AD must notify the county clerk or board of election commissioners of the election and candidates, which is in the form of a certified copy of the legal notice to be published by the county clerk or board of election commissioners (115.125). The motion or resolution calling for the director election and candidate filing should also authorize the AD board secretary to notify the county clerk or board of election commissioners. Otherwise, in order to meet the deadline, the AD board will have to meet for such authorization within a week after candidate filing ends.
- The county clerk or the board of election commissioners conducts the election.
- The verification board or the board of election commissioners certifies the election results to the AD within 14 days of the election (115.507).
- The current, now outgoing, AD board declares election results, typically based on the certified election results; however, sometimes circumstances may dictate that the candidate with the most number of votes might not be declared the winner (due to death of the candidate, withdrawal by the candidate, refusal to serve by the candidate, the candidate no longer being qualified, etc.).
- The outgoing AD board, having no further orders of the day (new business would be out of order for an outgoing board), adjourn sine die, which in Latin means to never meet again (board members not returning to the board may want to say a few departing remarks before adjournment). Before adjourning sine die, because the outgoing board is not going to meet again to approve the minutes of its last meeting, the out-going board should appoint a committee to approve the minutes of its last meeting — typically the committee is the new, incoming board or at least the incumbents of the new, incoming board.
- The director-elect takes his or her oath or affirmation (see the Oath of office section of Chapter III. Officials and Board Operations);
- The secretary, as the highest ranking officer of the AD (the chair and vice chair no longer exist because the outgoing board no longer exists), calls to order the incoming AD board;
- The secretary’s power is short-lived as the first order of business is the election of the board chair to a new one-year term — even if the person that was chair of the outgoing board is elected (190.055.1);
- The oath of office is administered to the new chair — even if it is the same person that was the chair of the outgoing board;
- The chair’s first order of business is the election, appointment and delegation of other officers to their new one-year term of office (see the Officers section of Chapter III. Officials and Board Operations), for example, vice chair, if the AD has such a role, the secretary, the custodian of records, the treasurer, and the budget officer (190.055.1; 610.023.1; 67.020);
- Oaths of office are administered to the new officers — even if the same individuals are the same officers as before;
- The first meeting of the new, incoming AD board continues to adjournment. There is no unfinished business to consider because all unfinished business “died” with the outgoing board.