Every person holding any civil office under the state or any municipality therein, shall, unless removed according to law, exercise the duties of such office until his successor is duly qualified; but this shall not apply to members of the general assembly, nor to members of any board or assembly, two or more of whom are elected at the same time. The general assembly may, by law, provide for suspending any officer in his functions pending impeachment or prosecution for misconduct in office.
Entire article added, effective August 1, 1876, see L. 1877, p. 63.
ANNOTATION Am. Jur.2d. See 63C Am. Jur.2d, Public Officers and Employees, § 121. C.J.S. See 81A C.J.S., States, §§ 147, 149-153. Language of this section is as clear and definite as human language can be. People ex rel. Lamb v. Shaffer, 90 Colo. 432, 9 P.2d 612 (1932). "According to law", in this section, can have no other construction than that such officers shall be removed as provided by the constitution or statute law. Trimble v. People ex rel. Phelps, 19 Colo. 187, 34 P. 981 (1893); Burkholder v. People ex rel. Nazarene, 59 Colo. 99, 147 P. 347 (1915). Meaning of "exercise the duties". The provision of this section that the officer shall "exercise the duties" is a qualification of the common-law rule that an incumbent shall hold over until his successor is appointed and qualified, if the words "hold over" mean " "continue to hold the office". That this provision was intended as such qualification gains some support from the language of § 6 of art. IV, Colo. Const., which provides that, in case of vacancy, the governor shall appoint a fit person to "discharge the duties" of the office. Here it is plain that the words "discharge the duties" are used in contradistinction to the words "fill the office". People ex rel. Griffith v. Scott, 52 Colo. 59, 120 P.126 (1911); Walsh v. People ex rel. McClenahan, 72 Colo. 406, 211 P. 646 (1922); People ex rel. Lamm v. Banta, 189 Colo. 474, 542 P.2d 377 (1975). Section guards against vacancy in public office. The evident purpose of the provision that a civil officer shall exercise the duties of his office until his successor is duly qualified is to prevent the interruption in public business which results from a vacancy in office. Clark v. Duvall, 61 Colo. 76, 156 P. 144 (1916).