Chris Moreno is no longer on the Lee’s Summit City Council.
With a successful recall election for District 4 and the council voting April 13 to declare the results of the municipal election, Moreno’s ouster took effect.
Now the council begins the hunt for a replacement.
Mayor Randy Rhoads said “I didn’t want to start those discussions while he was still officially in office. It didn’t seem appropriate.”
Rhoads on Monday announced a schedule for filling the council vacancy in District 4.
Filing begins April 20 with those who are interested filling out applications and presenting their resume’ to the city clerk at City Hall, 220 S.E. Green St. The end of filing will be 5 p.m. May 4. The applications will be distributed to the council on the next day.
The council will then hold a special meeting to interview candidates. The meeting will be in its executive conference room on a date to be announced, and it will be open to the public.
Rhoads said the goal is to swear in the new council member by the end of May.
The council has latitude in choosing a replacement for Moreno, as long as that person meets qualifications specified for council members by the charter.
“Ultimately how the council goes about it, is up to the council,” said City Attorney Brian Head, “The charter is pretty bare about the process.” It only says a majority of the remaining council members will appoint a qualified person to fill the seat.
The charter says qualifications for council member are to a qualified voter and a resident of the city for two years and six months in the district.
Also Rhoads will soon be appointing the next mayor pro tem.
The newly amended charter charges the mayor to make that appointment at the first regular meeting in May. The mayor pro tem will continue to make committee assignments.
The city’s Rules Committee now will begin work on an ethics policy, now mandated by the charter, Head said.
Head already had gathered ethics policies from other cities as examples for the committee earlier when it began looking at that issue, but then delayed farther work until seeing whether the amendment passed. The council has a year to draft and adopt the policy, he said.
Rhoads won’t start voting on ordinances, unless there is a tie.
The charter amendment that gives the mayor a vote on all ordinances goes into effect in the next mayoral term, because that delay was inserted into the ordinance calling for the election, which was passed by the City Council, Head said.
At the April 113 meeting the council also backed up on whether the city would build a $900,000 bridge closing a gap between S.E. Bordner Drive and 5th Street Terrace.
That project is opposed by some residents in nearby neighborhoods.
The city held an open house regarding the bridge earlier that week and council members also have held meetings with opponents.
Ken Sessa, one of the residents opposed to the bridge, told the council at its April 13 meeting that he hadn’t changed his mind.
He said that Todd George Parkway, 7th Terrace and Blue Parkway already experience congestion at traffic lights and that if the bridge is built people will use it the new connection as a thoroughfare.
“As primary routes get congested, motorists seek alternatives,” Sessa said.
Councilman Rob Binney, as mayor pro tem, said he was assigning the issue back to Public Works Committee for additional consideration. He said that to “unwind” the project the council would have to pass ordinances amending its Capital Improvement Plan and budget, so having committee deliberations is the first step.