Oro Valley Candidate Forum

Brendan Burns responds to a topic during an Oro Valley Town Council candidate forum last week.

By Randy Metcalf

An investigation will likely be under way soon to determine whether or not Oro Valley Councilman Brendan Burns can continue to serve while living outside the town boundaries. 

On July 24, a new state law went into effect, stating, “If a member of the council, at any time during the member’s term of office, ceases to be a qualified elector of the city or town or ceases to reside in the city or town, the council seat held by the member is deemed vacant. The council seat shall be filled in the same manner as any vacancy on the council. On request, the county attorney for the county in which the city or town is located shall investigate and determine whether a vacancy exists pursuant to this subsection.”

Burns moved out of his Oro Valley home and town limits in January after he and his wife separated. He currently resides in Pima County. 

On July 11, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath submitted a formal request to the Pima County Attorney’s Office to investigate the matter. 

Pima County Chief Civil Deputy Attorney Chris Straub said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages given the newness of the law and how it could impact Burns.

“A lot of factors go into a question of residency,” said Straub. “We need to analyze this new law as to whether it does anything to change the law that already generally exists about an office being deemed vacant when one no longer resides in the political boundary. These are things we will need to explore as we go forward.”

Burns, who is serving his first term on council, has had several run-ins with the law following the separation with his wife. He has twice violated a court-issued restraining order, and most recently was indicted on two felony counts to include disorderly conduct/domestic violence and burglary with a weapon. 

Some in the public are calling for Burns’ resignation. Burns did not return a call inquiring about whether he plans to resign, nor has he publicly announced his intentions. 

Burns returns to court on Aug. 11.

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