SPRING HILL Kan. – City business in Spring Hill, Kansas is at a standstill. A political stalemate has ensued as the councilman who lost his election bid to become mayor is refusing to come to meetings.

The man who voters elected mayor in November isn’t there either, he now lives in Florida.

Steve Owen may not have showed up for a third straight meeting after storming off January 10, but many of his supporters in the odd political battle did.

Thursday night’s meeting started like any other with an invocation and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. But you could tell by all the empty council seats no city business would get done in Spring Hill Kansas once again.

Two weeks after then councilman Tyler Graves defeated runner-up Owen in the mayoral election, Graves resigned saying he was moving to Florida. He’d yet to take office. It was a move many say had been in the works for months.

“If he wouldn’t have done what he did I don’t think we’d be where we are at today,” Roy Riffel said.

That led to the council election of Joe Berkey as Council President last week.

“Mr. Berkey you are the council president and by our charter you will now be sworn in as the Mayor of Spring Hill, Kansas,” the city attorney announced.

While he was being sworn in Owen left, leaving behind a letter for the city attorney to read.

“It is my opinion that our charter ordinance has not been followed. I will not be a party to any more of this tonight,”Owen wrote in the letter.

Owen hasn’t been back since, leaving the city without a quorum. Berkey said he’s called and sent city staff to his house but Owen hasn’t been reachable.

“We as a governing body want to move forward and conduct the business of the city,” a frustrated Berkey said Thursday before adjourning another meeting almost as quickly as it started.

Owen’s supporters say the councilman is trying to bring to light legal opinions on selecting a new mayor being withheld under attorney-client privilege.

“I am proud of him for what he’s doing clearly the public needs to hear it, I’m all about transparency,” Riffle said.

That attorney-client privilege is on the agenda to be discussed in executive session, if the newly elected council can ever hold its first full meeting.

“To Mr. Owen if you are listening I have not walked in your shoes, I don’t know what you are facing. I understand you are going through some things. But know we are here ready to listen, ready to work together. We just need you to reach out, we just need you to respond,” Diana Roth said.

Roth was elected Council President after Owen left the Jan. 10 meeting. City Attorney Charles Dunlay determined they still had a quorum at that time since Owen had been present for the beginning of the meeting. Roth had to second the nomination as the only remaining voting member.

Spring Hill’s next attempt at a meeting is set for 1 p.m. Friday. Dunlay said city charter was followed and had no comment on what could happen if Owen just never comes back. Owen’s letter explained his continued absence is not a resignation.