Jefferson City’s annual municipal election will be conducted on Tuesday, June 2. The election was originally scheduled for April 7, but delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the ballot, Jefferson City voters will be asked to approve updates the city charter.
The updates are presented in four propositions that will be on the ballot (A,B,C & D). Voter approval is necessary to change he city charter.
Proposition A changes language to me more gender neutral, eliminates unnecessary dates, and adds “incapacity” as a reason to removal councilmembers or the mayor. It would take a four-fifths majority vote (8 of 10 councilmembers) to remove the mayor.
Proposition B requires the city clerk, city administrator and city counselor to be residents of Jefferson City within 180 days of initial employment.
Proposition C makes technical changes to the council’s legislative procedures, changing rules for bill sponsors and co-sponsors, and clarifies procedures regarding the reading of bills, suspension of rules and the informal calendar.
Proposition D would prohibit former councilmembers or mayors from holding any compensated appointive city office or employment until two years after leaving office. It would also prohibit the mayor, councilmembers, parks and recreation committee members, the city administrator, city clerk and department directors from holding certain publicly elected offices elsewhere in Missouri.
The changes to the charter stem from recommendations by a charter review committee that was met in 2018. The bills were sponsored to council by Third Ward Councilwomen Erin Wiseman.
“After some discussions with the city counselor, I learned there were some general updates that we needed to address or clarify within the charter,” Wiseman said earlier this spring. “I agreed a committee review was appropriate. I can’t recall if there was a driving force other than a desire to update.”
Wiseman said she supports the changes to the charter.
“These are really just cleanup mechanisms for the charter,” she said. “There are some things that, while not urgent, like pronoun changes, that are helpful for us and the continuity of the council meetings. For instance, there is a procedural codification of how to bring a bill off the informal calendar. The current language allows for interpretation and if we have a new city counselor or city council, the interpretation could change. It’s good practice to have procedures that are codified for the public and counsel.”
Voters in the second ward will elect a new member of the council. The seat has been occupied by Rick Mihalevich, who reached the term limit of eight-years.
Running for the opening are Aaron Mealy, Mike Lester and Gregory Butler.
Mealy is a Jefferson City native, attended Helias High School and is employed at Missouri Department of Social Services. Lester moved to Jefferson City in 2002, is retired, and a member of the city’s planning and zoning commission. Butler moved to Jefferson City in 2009 and owns and operates a digital marketing agency.
Councilman Rick Prather in Ward 1 was also term-limited. and his seat will open. Hank Vogt ran unopposed for that seat and has already taken office. Hank Vogt is a Realtor and past president of the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors.
The city’s 10 council members are elected for staggered two-year terms. Incumbents Erin Wiseman (Ward 3), Ron Fitzwater (Ward 4) and Jon Hensley (Ward 5) are running unopposed for their current seats.
The city council makes laws, budgets city money and establishes policy and procedures for city staff. Council members must be a qualified voter of the city, have lived in the city for at least a year before the election, and in the ward they wish to represent for six months.
Each of the city’s five wards has two council members. The council meetings are the first and third Monday of each month at 6 p.m.
The mayor is elected for four years, with an eight-year term limit.