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Springfield City Council swears in newly elected members after campaign finance questioned

After an unusual start to their meeting Monday night, Springfield City Council swore-in its new members elected earlier this month — and said farewell to retiring ones.

It was a highly unusual moment.

City Council started their meeting Monday night more than 35 minutes late, gaveled in by Councilman Matt Simpson in the presiding chair as the seat’s normal occupant, Mayor Ken McClure, left the room — as did Councilwoman Monica Horton and Councilman-elect Brandon Jenson.

Springfield resident and frequent Council-watcher Linda Simkins told reporters at City Hall last night that just before the meeting, she asked City Clerk Anita Cotter whether the city had checked for campaign finance reports filed by McClure, Horton and Jenson.

Those financial reports were required by the Missouri Ethics Commission before those candidates could take office, according to a list of deadlines published by state authorities.

Before the meeting began, Clerk Cotter left her usual seat and exited council chambers, along with almost all of the council members. A few dozen people in the audience were left to wait.

Officials spent some time “making sure everything is in order before oaths of office” could be administered. That’s according to City spokesperson Cora Scott, who later texted KSMU to say she was told “all filings have been made, meeting the deadlines.”

KSMU can confirm that new campaign finance reports by the Springfield Mayor and the two other councilmembers appeared on the Missouri Ethics Commission website while the council meeting was in progress. Those reports weren’t listed earlier in the evening.

Council members whose terms ended looked back at their time leading Springfield. Here’s Councilman Andrew Lear.

“You know, we did some things. We navigated a pandemic together. We raised a flag. We created a course for the city to follow for the next 20 years. So we had some triumphs. We certainly had some stumbles, maybe enduring another one or two here tonight. But mostly I think out of all this experience the most I will miss is working with this group.”

The three new members of City Council include General Seat C Councilwoman Callie Carroll, Zone 3 Councilman Brandon Jenson and General Seat D Councilman Derek Lee.

Mayor Ken McClure, Zone 1 Councilwoman Monica Horton and Zone 2 Councilman Abe McGull were re-elected.

As they were sworn in, each one got a standing ovation.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs.