INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — In or out? That’s the question now for Independence Mayor Eileen Weir.
Less than three weeks ago she abruptly conceded her race for a third term as mayor. But at Monday night’s city council meeting, the mayor said she hasn’t withdrawn — she’s just not campaigning.
“There’s no obligation for any candidate to campaign. My name will appear on the ballot on April the 5th,” Weir said Monday.
Last month, the incumbent Independence mayor said, in part, “After much consideration, I have come to the difficult decision to concede the April general election.”
But Monday she made it clear, she’s not out of the race just yet.
“I never said that I was withdrawing,” she said. “I said I was ceasing my campaign.”
It’s left Colleen Huff, who narrowly lost a chance to advance from the primary to the general election, feeling frustrated.
“I lost by 106 votes, which could only be 50 households. It was sickening for me. It was sickening to see that she had done this and disenfranchised so many voters,” Huff said.
Weir’s name will remain on the April 5 ballot, along with Missouri state Rep Roy Rowland. City Councilman Mike Steinmyer is running as a write-in candidate.
If Weir wins the election, she would either assume the role or resign. FOX4 reached out to Weir, but she has not responded as of publication time.
The city charter says: “If a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor or other council member (15) months or more before the next general city election, the vacancy shall be filled by a successor elected at a special election.”
“It just led me to believe that this was probably preplanned prior to the primary,” Huff said.
All of this comes against the backdrop of a city investigation into the police department’s alleged misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime money.
City Manager Zach Walker said an officer worked over 2,800 hours of overtime on police headquarters renovations, resulting in more than $160,000 in overtime pay. Council members say that officer isn’t the only one who was paid excess overtime for non-law enforcement work.
The city hired an attorney to act as an independent special counsel and oversee the investigation. Some council members are now calling for an audit of all city payroll.