On June 22, Holden Mayor Doyle Weeks resigned before the Holden City Council after reports of nepotism actions came to light.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office first received allegations of nepotism on May 17, 2021, at which time they filed a report and turned the matter over to Robert Russell, Johnson County Prosecuting Attorney.
The nepotism allegations stemmed from an April 13 city council meeting, in which Mayor Weeks cast a tie-breaking vote for his wife, Liz Weeks, (a city council member), to hold the mayor pro tem position on the council.
The reporting party, Morgan Pemberton, advised the Sheriff’s Office that the council meeting was covered on the April 29 Holden Image Facebook page.
Sergeant Tim Schnell of the Sheriff’s Office, looked into the charges and located the Image Facebook page Pemberton was referring to. Sergeant Schnell then went to Holden City Hall and requested official meeting notes from City Clerk Celeste Malcom from the April 13 council meeting.
This information was shared with Prosecutor Russell. On June 15, 2021, Sergeant Schnell went to the prosecutor’s office and was given a letter written by Russell to be hand-delivered to Mayor Weeks.
Deputy Wareham of the Sheriff’s Office personally delivered the letter to Holden City Hall with instructions it be given to Weeks immediately.
Prosecutor Russell shared a copy of his correspondence to Mayor Weeks with the Holden Image.
The letter reads, in part, “Dear Mr. Weeks, Regretfully, I must inform you that your action on April 13, 2021, wherein you voted to break the tie of the City Council and name your wife as Mayor Pro Tem, constitutes an act of nepotism. This is a violation of Missouri’s Constitution and the only penalty is forfeiture of your public office.”
The letter then quotes articles from the Missouri Constitution regarding acts of nepotism.
Russell’s letter went on to explain to Mayor Weeks, “Your vote, as recorded in the official City of Holden Regular Meeting Minutes of Tuesday, April 13, 2021, provided by the City Clerk to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, to appoint your wife to the office of Mayor Pro Tem, is a violation of the constitutional prohibition against nepotism.”
Russell’s letter continued, quoting related articles of the Missouri Constitution, and telling Mayor Weeks that he must step down from his office of mayor immediately.
Russell continued, saying in his letter, “I hereby request you tender your resignation effective immediately and take no further action as mayor. “If you do not choose to resign within the next 10 days, I will have no choice but to file an action in Quo Warrant to enforce the forfeiture penalty under the Missouri Constitution.”
Doyle Weeks resigned before the council last Tuesday, June 22. Russell requested a copy of Weeks’ resignation letter.
The Image asked Doyle Weeks for a statement but he declined to comment.
With his resignation, that means Mayor Pro Tem Liz Weeks takes over the position of mayor for the City of Holden, taking her husband’s office.
The Image asked Russell if Liz Weeks’ appointment as mayor pro tem was valid.
Prosecutor Russell said he was not familiar with Holden’s policies, but added that the act of nepotism does not void then Mayor Doyle Weeks’ vote for his wife, so the appointment should stand.
The Image contacted Holden City Attorney Jeremy Cover and he verified that Liz Weeks is now mayor of Holden.
“Ms. Weeks has been sworn in as Holden’s new mayor; absent any intervening issue, she will hold that position until the term ends in April 2022,” said Cover.
He was also asked who will fill the vacant council seat of Liz Weeks and he responded, “Pursuant to Sec. 77.450, RSMo., if a vacancy occurs in any elective office other than the office of mayor, a successor to the vacant office shall be selected by appointment by the mayor with the advice and consent of a majority of the remaining members of the council.
“I don’t know when an appointment from Mayor Weeks will occur,” Cover added.
Cover also verified that Doyle Weeks resigned on June 22. Addressing the citizens of Holden, Attorney Cover commented, “Nepotism issues are not uncommon in small towns because there’s typically a small pool of people who are civically active, and those people are often related.
“I believe that Holden city officials have learned from this experience and are ready to move forward.” Newly inducted Mayor Liz Weeks was asked by the Image if she had a comment to the citizens of Holden regarding the events of last week.
She responded by saying, “The City is going to move forward and continue the progress that has been made in the last few years.
The effort and hard work from the council and mayor will be seen in the future and I hope to build upon that foundation.”
Editors Note: Ex-Mayor Doyle Weeks responded late Tuesday and shared comments on the nepotism allegations. It was too late to get in this week’s Image. See next week for his comments.