LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Who’s in charge?
People in Leavenworth, Kansas complain they’re confused by city leadership, as the city’s outgoing mayor appoints an unexpected face as the city’s new leader, citing city procedure.
Edd Hingula, who had been one of the city’s five commissioners, was named Leavenworth’s new mayor during Tuesday’s city commission meeting.
Outgoing mayor, Camalla Leonhard, nominated her fellow council member as her successor, according to city procedure. Leavenworth is one of a handful of Kansas cities that use the Commission-City Manager form of government.
However, citizens are upset that Leavenworth’s Mayor Pro Tem, Jermaine Wilson, was in line to be the city’s next mayor. Wilson was previously Leavenworth’s mayor in 2019.
Wilson got the most votes in the city’s most recent election for commissioner’s seats, and, in keeping with Leavenworth’s tradition, would normally be positioned as mayor. Instead, the commission approved Hingla’s appointment 3-2, breaking with the norm.
Council member Nancy Bauder, who has served two terms as the city’s mayor, was one of the commission’s two dissenting voices.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t follow our routine and we didn’t go ahead and install Commissioner Wilson as mayor and follow the expectations of people in our community,” Bauder said on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Leonhard explained to the commission Wilson didn’t receive her nod because he hadn’t attended enough public functions as a city representative. She followed that up with this statement to FOX4 on Thursday:
“I stand by my vote electing Edd Hingula as mayor,” Leonhard wrote. “Commissioner Hingula was reliable and dependable this year proving to be what the City of Leavenworth needs as their next mayor.”
Leavenworth voters complained to FOX4 on Wednesday that their votes didn’t count, and they were dissatisfied with this decision. Wilson, who was traveling for business on Thursday, refuted Leonhard’s claims, and added that Hingula’s move to become mayor was a bad decision.
“What (Hingula) did was a mistake, it was unprofessional and it did a disservice to the citizens,” Wilson said. “I was elected to serve the community not the mayor.”
FOX4 reached out to Hingula, but our calls to him weren’t answered. Wilson said he believes the new mayor may rethink his decision to accept the job. The next step will likely come at a special commission meeting on Tuesday night.
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