Opinion & Editorial

Springfield council should use transparent, public process to choose mayor

Chris Wig – Guest Viewpoint

Springfield was surprised to learn Aug. 15 that Christine Lundberg had resigned as mayor after 10 years of service. Residents were also surprised to learn that they will not have the opportunity to vote on who will succeed her.

According to Section 20 of Springfield’s city charter, the vacancy will be filled by appointment voted on by the Springfield City Council until a special election can be held. The next special election is allowed during the next general election, which will be November 2022.

The city council has filled a mayoral vacancy by appointment four times in the past 40 years. Three times it appointed an active councilor, and the fourth time an ex-councilor was appointed.

In today’s political climate, appointment of a current councilor without an adequate open, public and transparent process would appear self-dealing and hurt the legitimacy of both our new mayor and the city

Here’s what an open, public and transparent process could look like: any Springfield citizen qualified to serve as mayor would have the opportunity to apply and serious candidates would be interviewed in a public meeting. 

The public should be given time and opportunities to provide feedback after the public meeting where interviews are conducted and before the public meeting where council appoints our new mayor. The council may want to appoint an ad-hoc advisory committee to study the mayoral vacancy, interview candidates who apply to serve, and return to council with information about strengths and opportunities of each applicant and a recommendation.

Because the city charter does not allow for a vote, the voices of Springfield citizens are at risk of being cut out of the process to appoint our new mayor. 

Springfield city councilors can demonstrate they are listening to their constituents by committing to an appointment process that is open and transparent.

If you’d like to learn more, please check out the city’s website at springfield-or.gov., and contact the city council.


Chris Wig is chair of the Democratic Party of Lane County. He also is an elected member of the Willamalane Park and Recreation District Board of Directors; the opinions expressed here are his own and are not intended to represent Willamalane.

Note: The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 28.



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