JENNINGS, Mo. – The Jennings City Council met Thursday night to consider a “no-confidence” vote for mayor Gary Johnson.
This is the latest development in a saga that pits the mayor against the city council. The FOX Files has been covering developments over the course of several weeks.
On Thursday, five of the eight city council members met and took action to reverse several big moves made under Johnson. While the council decided not to take up the no-confidence vote, they decided to scrap the mayor’s stop work order on a major city civic center project.
Mayor Johnson and his supporters were conspicuously absent for the meeting, but all five of the mayor’s detractors gathered with a quorum to hold a meeting. At the top of the agenda, was introducing a letter of no-confidence in the mayor signed by all five members, a motion to demonstrate they no longer support Johnson in his current role.
Ultimately, they decided to punt.
“We decided to put it on hold,” said Terry Wilson with the Jennings City Council. “We want to have a group discussion with the mayor because we actually want to work with the mayor. But the thing is, the mayor has to meet us halfway, and we have to meet him halfway. I feel like, after having that discussion, if things don’t change, then maybe we have to move forward with the vote of no-confidence.”
Elliott Davis asked some members if the council would motion toward impeachment.
“I’ll put it to you like this, nothing is off the table,” said Wilson.
“That is not my wish, but if you can’t do anything different, if you can’t get it together, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary in order to make Jennings for all residents work.
The council did take action on another issue. Members have been at odds with the mayor over the multi-million dollar city center. Recently, Johnson issued a stop order, even though voters had approved the money for the $11 million city hall civic center. The council voted to give the project the go-ahead to go forward.
Another action by the major that had council members punting were the terminations and resignations of several employees. They say they’ll meet with the mayor to discuss that.
Even though the mayor and supporters of the council didn’t show up to the meeting, many citizen supporters showed up.
“Nothing happened until Mayor Johnson got in,” said one supporter, who adds that the mayor helped with action to tear down old houses and build new ones.
Meanwhile, other citizens of Jennings say they’re fed up.
“He should be out,” said resident Teresa Lowman. “He should either step down or do a recall.”
While the council did not talk publicly about impeachment, trying to do that might be problematic. The council would need six votes to impeach the mayor. Right now, they have five.
A more likely option, if it comes to that, would be a recall to let voters decide if the mayor should go.
FOX 2 has reached out for comment Thursday, and we have yet to hear back. We will update as new developments become known.