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Springfield Mayoral Seat to Be Vacant Until After November Election




Springfield City Council members discussed the process for voting on the Interim Mayor at Monday night’s regular meeting. After taking a vote, the city will choose a new Mayor after the Nov. election. 

The decision comes after former Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg resigned in Aug. The current mayoral term will end at the beginning of next year and a new term will start in Jan. 2021. 


The Council could have decided to appoint an Interim Mayor for the current term through the end of the year, then when making their appointment for the next term, they could have decided to appoint the same or a different person for the next term lasting through the general election in 2022. 


The Council previously decided to appoint an Interim Mayor from among interested sitting Council members, despite many community members wanting to have a special election to decide the nomination. 


But with only two months left in the term, the city council decided not to select an interim mayor for this term. 


Since Aug., Council President Joe Pishioneri has been assuming mayoral duties. With the decision to postpone the selection of an interim Mayor, Pishioneri will continue his duties as Council President and completing mayoral responsibilities, and will be assisted by the newly elected Council President Pro Tem. 


Marilee Woodrow was elected Council President Pro Tem with a vote of 5-1 with councilor Sheri Moore opposed. 


After the Nov. 3 election, the group plans to meet with the councilor elect for Ward 3 to discuss appointing the interim Mayor and the interim councilor for whichever ward has the vacancy,  since they’re choosing from council members who’ve expressed interest in serving as mayor.


A new mayor may be selected as early as Dec. The process and timeline for selecting a new council member may be discussed as soon as Nov. or Dec.


If there is a gap in the time from when the current term ends in January and the Council appoints an Interim Mayor for the new term, the Council President will assume the duties of Mayor. The Council must appoint the next Council President at the Jan. 4, 2021 regular session meeting.


The Charter requires a majority of the Council to appoint an interim Mayor, which means the Interim Mayor must receive at least 4 out the 6 possible votes during a regular council meeting. If no one candidate receives a majority in the first round, Council can narrow the candidates with the following options: 


Option 1: Drop candidate with least votes and revote.

Option 2: Instant run off of the two nominees who receive the most votes.


Any Council vacancy created by the Interim Mayor appointment must be filled consistent with the Springfield Charter.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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