Mayor Pro Tem Janie White will be acting mayor until the election.
New London is having a tough time keeping a mayor.
About three months after being elected to his fifth term as mayor, Marvin Miller abruptly resigned in July 2016.
Then, in the April 2017 Municipal Election, Shane McClelland was overwhelmingly elected over two other candidates to fill the unexpired Miller unexpired term, ends after the April 2018 Municipal Election. However, in August, McClelland resigned because he moved outside the city limits.
New London City Clerk Millie Powell says the city will leave the mayor’s position unfilled until the April election. Mayor Pro Tem Janie White will be acting mayor until the election.
She said New London ruled out a special election because of costs, which would run around $10,000.
“During a normal election cycle, all precincts are prorated but in a special election the city would bear all the costs,” she said. “That is just too much out of the budget.”
White will fill the dual role of being an alderman and the acting mayor, meaning in the event of a tie vote by the board, she would receive the mayor’s tie-breaking vote. Under the statute that covers Fourth-Class cities, the mayor only votes only when members of the board aldermen are deadlocked on an issue.
When he resigned, Miller told The Hannibal Courier-Post that his decision was sparked by the then-hiring of Keith Miller as city superintendent, following the retirement of long-time city superintendent Don Epperson.
“Rather than stay around and cause more turmoil, I thought it was best for me to resign,” Miller told the newspaper.
McClelland’s resignation was not as controversial. He sold his property to Casey’s General Store, which is building a new location ion the city.
As a Fourth-Class city, Missouri statutes allow for a broad range of legislative solutions to fill the open position, says Paul Roast of the law firm Cunningham, Vogel and Roast, which is one the firms in the state that practices municipal law.
“What the city can do is seek people who want to be appointed mayor and take a vote,” he said. “Then, if a current board member is elected, members would then need to find a replacement alderman.”
Roast said that it is unusual for a city to leave the mayor’s office vacant until the next election. And he says the idea of an acting mayor having two votes allowed, but not often practiced.
“There is an old Attorney General’s opinion that it is allowed,” he said, “but it is very confusing for all involved.”