AN ACT TO PROVIDE, IN THE EVENT OF ATTACK UPON THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE CONTINUITY OF THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE STATE AND THE GOVERNMENTS OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THE STATE BY PROVIDING FOR EMERGENCY INTERIM SUCCESSION TO EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF THE STATE AND ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS; AND BY AUTHORIZING POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS TO ENACT RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES RELATING TO THE SUBJECT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all Members elected to each House concurring therein):
Section 1. Part VII, Title 29, Delaware Code, is amended by adding thereto a new Chapter as follows:
CHAPTER 78. EMERGENCY INTERIM EXECUTIVE
§ 7801. Short Title
This Chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Emergency Interim Executive Succession Act."
§ 7802. Statement of Policy
Because of the existing possibility of attack upon the United States of unprecedented size and destructiveness, and in order, in the event of such an attack, to assure continuity of government through legally constituted leadership, authority and responsibility in offices of the government of the State and its political subdivisions; to provide for the effective operation of governments during an emergency; and to facilitate the early resumption of functions temporarily suspended, it is found and declared to be necessary to provide for emergency interim succession to governmental offices of this State and its political subdivisions in the event the incumbents thereof (and their
deputies, assistants or other subordinate officers authorized, pursuant to law, to exercise all of the powers and discharge the duties of such offices hereinafter referred to as deputies) are unavailable to perform the duties and functions of such offices.
§ 7803. Definitions
Unless otherwise clearly required by the context, as used in this Act:
(a) 'Unavailable" means either that a vacancy in office exists and there is no deputy authorized to exercise all of the Powers and discharge the duties of the office, or that the lawful incumbent of the office (including any deputy exercising the powers and discharging the duties of an office because of a vacancy) and his duly authorized deputy are absent or unable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office.
(b) "Emergency interim successor" means a person designated pursuant to this Chapter, in the event the officer is unavailable, to exercise, the powers and discharge the duties of an office until a successor is appointed or elected and qualified as may be provided by the constitution, statutes, charters and ordinances or until the lawful incumbent is able to resume the exercise of the powers and discharge the duties of the office.
(c) "Office" includes all State and local offices, the powers and duties of which are defined by the constitution, statutes, charters, and ordinances, except the office of Governor, and except those in the General Assembly and the judiciary.
(d) "Attack" means any attack or series of attacks by an enemy of the United States causing, or which may cause, substantial damage or injury to civilian property or persons in the United States in any manner by sabotage or by the use of bombs, missiles, shellfire, or atomic, radiological, chemical, bacteriological, or biological means or other weapons or processes.
(e) "Political subdivision" includes counties, cities, towns, districts, authorities, and other public corporations and entities whether organized and existing under charter or general law.
§ 7804. Emergency Interim Successors for State Officers
All State officers, subject to such regulations as the Governor (or other official authorized under the constitution to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office of Governor) may issue, shall, upon approval of this Act, in addition to any deputy authorized pursuant to law to exercise all of the powers and discharge the duties of the office, designate by title emergency interim successors and specify their order of succession. The officer shall review and revise, as necessary, designations made pursuant to this Act to insure their current status. The officer will designate a sufficient number of such emergency interim successors so that there will be not less than three nor more than seven such deputies or emergency interim successors or any combination thereof, at any time. In the event that any State officer is unavailable following an attack, and in the event his deputy, if any, is also unavailable, the said powers of his office shall be exercised and said duties of his office shall be discharged by his designated emergency interim successors in the order specified. Such emergency interim successors shall exercise said powers and discharge said duties only until such time as the Governor under the constitution or authority other than this Chapter (or other official authorized under the constitution to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office of Governor) may, where a vacancy exists, appoint a successor to fill the vacancy or until a successor is otherwise appointed, or elected and qualified as provided by law; or an officer (or his deputy or a preceding named emergency interim successor) becomes available to exercise or resume the exercise of the powers and discharge the duties of his office.
§ 7805. Enabling Authority for Emergency Interim Successors for Local Offices
With respect to local offices for which the legislative bodies of cities, towns, and counties may enact resolutions or ordinances relative to the manner in which vacancies will be filled or temporary appointments to office made, such legislative bodies are hereby authorized to enact resolutions or ordinances providing for emergency interim successors to offices of the aforementioned governmental units. Such resolutions and ordinances
shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter.
§ 7806. Emergency Interim Successors for Local Officers
The provisions of this section shall be applicable to officers of political subdivisions (including, but not limited to, cities, towns and counties, as well as school and drainage districts) not included in Section 7805 of this Chapter. Such officers, subject to such regulations as the executive head of the political subdivision may issue, shall upon the enactment of this Chapter, designate by title (if feasible) or by named person, emergency interim successors and specify their order of succession. The officer shall review and revise, as necessary, designations made pursuant to this Chapter to insure their current status. The officer will designate a sufficient number of persons so that there will be not less than three, nor more than seven, deputies or emergency interim successors or any combination thereof, at any time. In the event that any officer of any political subdivision (or his deputy provided for pursuant to law) is unavailable, the powers of the office shall be exercised and duties shall be discharged by his designated emergency interim successors in the order specified. The emergency interim successor shall exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office to which designated until such time as a vacancy which may exist shall be filled in accordance with the constitution or statutes; or until the officer (or his deputy or a preceding emergency interim successor) again becomes available to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of his office.
§ 7807. Formalities of Taking Office
At the time of their designation, emergency interim successors shall take such oath as may be required for them to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office to which they may succeed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, as a prerequisite to the exercise of the powers or discharge of the duties of an office to which he succeeds, shall be required to comply with any other provision of law relative to taking office.
§ 7808. Period in Which Authority May Be Exercised
Officials authorized to act as emergency interim successors are empowered to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office as herein authorized only after an attack upon the United States, as defined herein, has occurred. The General Assembly by concurrent resolution, may at any time terminate the authority of said emergency interim successors to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of office as herein provided.
§ 7809. Removal of Designees
Until such time as the persons designated as emergency interim successors are authorized to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office in accordance with this Chapter, including Section 7808 of this Chapter, said persons shall serve in their designated capacities at the pleasure of the designating authority and may be removed or replaced by said designating authority at any time, with or without cause.
§ 7810. Disputes
Any dispute concerning a question of fact arising under this Chapter with respect to an office in the executive branch of the State government shall be adjudicated by the Governor (or other official authorized under the constitution to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office of Governor) and his decision shall be final.
§ 7811. Separability
The various provisions of this Chapter shall be construed as separable and severable, and should any of the provisions or parts thereof be construed or held unconstitutional or for any reason be invalid, the remaining provisions of this Chapter shall not be thereby affected.
Approved July 18, 1963.