Mayor Seat Transition Q & A
Q: How is a vacant seat filled?
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?
The Council majority supports the option to appoint a Councilor to the Mayor’s seat. This allows the organization and community to rely on a voter-elected Councilor to fulfill the duties of the Mayor at a time when there are significant challenges and opportunities facing our community.
Proposed Appointment Schedule – City staff have proposed the following schedule for Council to appoint the interim Mayor and to fill any subsequent Council vacancy created by the mayoral appointment. The City Council may modify this proposed schedule at any upcoming Council meeting.
- January 19, 2021
- Council appoints interim Mayor. The Council can appoint the interim Mayor when the vacancy occurs which in this case is 10 days after the new term starts. (Springfield Charter Section 19(8)).
- Council approves process for filling Councilor vacancy.
- January 19 – February 1, 2021
- Two-week advertisement/recruitment period for Council vacancy.
- February 1, 2021
- Interim Councilor applications due to City Manager’s Office.
- February 16 and 22, 2021-Work Sessions
- March 1, 2021-Regular Session
- Council deliberation and appointment of new interim Councilor.
Q: Can the City hold a special election earlier than 2022 to elect a new Mayor?
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. Changes to the Charter must be approved by Springfield voters. City Councilors have requested staff present possible options at a future Council meeting on a Charter amendment process.
This information was updated on 01.06.2021