Springfield City Council meetings occasionally begin up to five minutes after the scheduled start time, but the April 17 meeting gaveled in more than 35 minutes late.
One reason for the delay became clear after a check of the Missouri Ethics Commission’s online campaign finance database, as four candidates – Mayor Ken McClure, Monica Horton, Abe McGull and newcomer Brandon Jenson – scurried to file reports before the start of the meeting.
McGull was present for the start of the meeting, while Horton and McClure joined the meeting shortly after Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Simpson called it to order. A full council was present prior to consideration of the first council bill, after the city manager’s report. No explanation was given to the audience in the chamber or online for the delayed start.
The Missouri Ethics Commission expressly requires a 30-day post-election report to be filed prior to a candidate taking the oath of office. Horton and McGull also filed their April quarterly reports during the delay, though those reports were due before midnight on April 17.
Newly elected and reelected council members were sworn in toward the end of the meeting, after incumbent council members cast votes on remaining measures that had been introduced during their terms of office.
Jenson was newly sworn to council during the meeting, along with Callie Carroll and Derek Lee, and incumbents McClure, Horton and McGull also repeated their oaths.
City spokesperson Cora Scott later said the filings weren’t the only reason for the meeting’s delay, as transition meetings always include a lot of details to handle before oaths are administered.
Additionally, Simpson entered the chamber after the meeting’s start time, having just received a Springfield Public Schools award as the year’s top Advocate for Education, Scott said.
Local government watcher Linda Simkins, who runs the citizens oversight Facebook page Springfield/Greene County Start Local, said she was the person who raised a concern to city officials about the missing finance reports.
Citizens for Ken McClure, the mayor’s campaign committee, filed its 30-day post-election report at 7:23 p.m., nearly an hour after the council meeting was scheduled to begin and a little over two hours before his oath of office was administered. That report showed receipts for the election cycle at $128,257 and expenditures at $107,592.
Melanie Bach for Mayor, the committee belonging to McClure’s opponent in the election, has not yet filed its final report, but the April quarterly report showed total receipts of $30,478 and total expenditures of $16,269, meaning the unsuccessful candidate left nearly half of her contributions unspent. The due date for unsuccessful candidates to file their 30-day post-election report is May 4.
Committee to Elect Monica Horton, the group representing the unopposed Zone 1 candidate, filed its April quarterly report at 7 p.m. and 30-day post-election report at 7:07 p.m. Receipts for the election cycle were $1,714, and all of those funds were spent.
Brandon Jenson for SGF, the committee for the successful Zone 3 candidate, electronically filed its 30-day post-election report at 7:10 p.m. Its total receipts for the calendar year were $17,393, and it spent $4,102. Nokes for Council, the committee of Jenson’s challenger, David Nokes, filed its April quarterly report showing receipts of $12,304 and expenditures of $8,330. Its final report has not yet been filed.
McGull ran unopposed for the Zone 2 council position. The Missourians for Abe McGull committee filed its April quarterly report 20 minutes into the scheduled start of the council meeting at 6:50 p.m. Its 30-day post-election report was filed April 6. A report filed in July 2022 shows $151 in his election account, with no contributions or expenditures after that date.
Citizens for Callie Carroll, the General C candidate’s committee, filed its 30-day post-election report April 10. Carroll’s receipts for the election cycle were $44,494, and expenditures were $26,522. The committee of Carroll’s unsuccessful challenger, Jeremy Dean, Dean for Springfield, last filed an eight-day pre-election report on its March 27 due date. Dean’s total receipts at that time were $6,315, and expenditures were $3,665.
In General D, Derek Lee for Council filed its 30-day post-election report April 11 showing receipts of $54,464 and expenditures of $39,914. Lee’s unsuccessful challenger, Bruce Adib-Yazdi, was represented by Bruce Adib-Yazdi for SGF City Council, whose last report was the eight-day pre-election report, filed March 27. It showed a war chest of $12,244 and expenditures of $10,548.
By Missouri Ethics Commission rules, campaign committees of unsuccessful candidates must be terminated within 30 days of the election, but successful candidates may keep their committees open until the conclusion of their time in office.
Upon termination of campaign committees, unused funds may be returned to contributors, given to a political organization or committee, or given as an unconditional gift to a charitable, fraternal or civic organization.
Richard Ollis, who gave up his General D seat, terminated the Richard Ollis for City Council committee on Jan. 27. Its remaining funds were donated to Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc., in the amount of $10,000, and to Ozark Greenways Inc., at $7,471.
Andrew Lear for City Council, the committee of the General C council member who did not run for reelection, was terminated April 4 with donations of its remaining funds to the Connecting Grounds Outreach Fund, $500, and the Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation, $404.
The Schilling for City Council committee of outgoing council member Mike Schilling, who did not seek reelection, remains active with $524 in its account.
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