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Wendy North is sworn in as the newest member of the Spring Hill City Council.

SPRING HILL — The Spring Hill City Council gained a new member and lost another during a meeting Thursday, Feb. 10.

At the start of the meeting, new mayor Joe Berkey said council member Steve Owen had submitted his letter of resignation.

“We do want to thank him for his years of service,” Berkey said.

Owen had not attended a meeting since walking out of the Jan. 10 meeting in protest after Berkey was appointed council president and then mayor. Owen previously had served as council president.

His absence created a two-week standoff during which council meetings could not be held due to a lack of a quorum. Eventually, at the Jan. 27 meeting, Chad Young was appointed to fill Tyler Graves’ vacant council seat after City Attorney Charles Dunlay explained why legally a quorum was not needed to fill a council vacancy. Instead, the appointment could be approved by consent of the “remaining council members.”

During the Feb. 10 meeting, the council members approved Berkey’s recommended appointment of Wendy North to fill his vacated council seat. New council member Young voted against the appointment. Young declined to elaborate on his reasoning when asked about it after the meeting.

Owen’s resignation means there is still one vacancy on the council. Berkey said the city will be accepting letters of interest from residents until noon on Thursday, Feb. 17.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Steve Boswell said he still hasn’t received an answer to a question he asked at the last meeting. He specifically referenced a portion of the city’s charter ordinance that states that the council president would become mayor in the event of a vacancy, and that person would have all of the powers of the mayor except for making appointments. Boswell asked why Berkey is able to make appointments without being elected by the people and why the city isn’t following its own rules.

“If we don’t follow them now, then we can break them anytime we want to when it’s convenient, and they’re there for a reason,” Boswell said.

Also during public comment, Charles Morse spoke and presented multiple slides regarding the city’s approved annexation last year of 80 acres near 185th Street and Ridgeview Road bordering Olathe and then subsequent de-annexation of the land. Morse said he and his neighbors had to hire an attorney to represent them as they fought the annexation, and he said the city should never have annexed it in the first place because of an ongoing lawsuit with the city of Olathe. He asked the city to pay for the neighbors’ legal expenses totaling $5,857.50, and he gave two invoices to the city clerk.

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