City government in the western Iowa town of Lewis has been shut down for the past month after the city clerk and three members of the City Council resigned. That left the city unable to conduct business, as the City Council doesn’t have enough members — a quorum — to do business. Mayor Don Sanny says the State Auditor told him until those city council seats are filled, the city can’t even pay its bills or plow the snow when it comes. Sanny says his main concern is taking care of a city employee who hasn’t been paid in a month. State Representative Jack Drake, a Republican from Lewis, has talked to legal experts who say the Auditor’s wrong. Drake says lawyers in the Legislative Service Bureau say the Mayor has the authority, since it’s an emergency, to issue checks and pay the bills. Drake’s hoping to sponsor legislation that would establish rules for any other town that might fall into a similar situation.Drake says you just can’t shut down a city government like this. A special election has been scheduled for December 3rd to fill the three council seats. Mayor Sanny says they’ll have to hang on ’til then. He says a lot of people have said “let the podunk town go down the tube.”Sanny says at least eight people have filed papers to run for the three council seats.
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