Filling the Mayor Seat Q & A
Q: Who becomes Mayor now?
The City Council will select someone to fill the vacancy in the position of Mayor, according to Chapter IV, Section 20 of the Springfield Charter. The Charter is similar to a constitution for the City of Springfield, and can be changed only with approval from Springfield voters. The Charter is available online at http://www.qcode.us/codes/springfield/.
Section 20. A vacancy in the Council or in the position of Mayor shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the Council. The appointee’s term of office runs from the time of his or her qualification for the office after the appointment and shall continue until the beginning of the year following the next general biennial election and until a successor is qualified. The successor for the unexpired term shall be chosen at the next general biennial election after said appointment. During a Council member’s disability to serve on the Council or during the member’s excused absence from the City, a majority of the other members of the Council may by appointment fill the vacancy pro tem.
Q: Who can the City Council appoint to fill the Mayor’s seat?
The City Council must appoint someone who meets the minimum qualifications under the requirements of the Springfield Charter, Chapter VII, section 23. The minimum qualifications include residing within the City limits and not being a City employee – see the Charter for the full list of requirements. The Charter does not require the appointee to be a sitting City Councilor. The City Council can decide any additional qualifications in selecting someone to fill the vacancy. Any City Council decisions will be made at a future public meeting.
Q: When will the City Council choose someone to fill the Mayor’s seat?
UPDATE: At the October 19 Council Meeting, the Council opted not to fill the current term expiring this year and is instead focused on appointing an interim Mayor for the term beginning in January 2021. Council President Joe Pishioneri will continue to assume duties of the Mayor and Councilor Marilee Woodrow was selected to serve as Pro Tem Council President to assist. The Council’s discussion on the appointment of an interim Mayor continues in November where Council will discuss the process and timeline in more depth in addition to further discussing a robust process for an inclusive effort to fill a Council seat that will become vacant once an interim Mayor is selected. Council meeting agendas are made available the Thursday prior to each meeting at https://www.springfield-or.gov/city/city-council-meetings/. Additional public meetings on this item may be scheduled as needed.
Q: Can I file to run for Mayor in the upcoming November 2020 election?
No. The next opportunity to run for Springfield Mayor will be in the November 2022 general election. Christine Lundberg already won the election for a new four-year term beginning January 2021, at the May primary this year. Per the Springfield Charter, the City Council must appoint an interim Mayor until a successor is elected by Springfield voters. The successor to fill the remaining two years of that term will be elected at the general election in November 2022.
Q: Can the City hold a special election earlier than 2022 to elect a new Mayor?
No. The Springfield Charter requires successors for vacant Council seats (including the Mayor) to be elected at the next general biennial election following the City Council’s appointment of someone to fill the vacancy. The Charter does not allow the City to hold a special election for this purpose. The Charter cannot be changed without approval from Springfield voters.
This information was updated on 10.21.2020