Surprise councilman lives in Calif., calls in

By Jen Lebron Kuhney | The Republic |

Surprise Councilman Richard Alton hasn’t been seen at a council meeting since Sept. 24, the day he announced he would resign at the end of the year.

Surprise Councilman Richard AltonAlton now lives mostly in the Sacramento area and attends meetings by telephone, but that isn’t good enough for some residents who say he should resign immediately and allow someone else to be appointed.

Alton has not violated any rules, a city spokesman said, and Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott said she and the council support his decision to appear by phone.

Alton lists his official residence at his brother’s house in Surprise, and city leaders say they don’t have a procedure to investigate whether Alton still lives there.

At least one expert says Alton has an ethical obligation to step down.

“It’s a very unusual situation, but the right thing for him to do is resign immediately if he’s not living in the area,” said Fred Solop, a Northern Arizona University political science professor.


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