Petition submitted to recall Nixa mayor over enforcement of mask mandate

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 8:43 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - An effort is underway in Nixa on Tuesday to recall Mayor Brian Steele after a petition was handed in to the city clerk’s office.

The petition states residents want Mayor Steele recalled for putting the mask mandate in place.

The petition reads the recall is “for individually and without regard to the citizens of Nixa, nor the vote of city council, enacting a mask mandate, and taking other actions detrimental to the city of Nixa, its economy and the health and welfare of the community in general.”

Mayor Steele says he stands by his decision.

”Especially after the large spike that we saw in COVID hospitalizations and deaths in our community,” Mayor Steele says. “I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion but in this particular case, it was up to me to make that decision and I made the decision I thought was best.”

Based on Nixa’s charter, the number of signatures needed on the petition depends on the overall number of votes cast in the last mayoral election. Christian County Clerk Kay Brown says the petition needs ten percent of the overall votes cast in that June 2020 election, which would be 67 signatures.

The petition has 97 total signatures, but Brown says they need to be verified.

“We will go through each signature line by line checking their address and their signature to verify it is truly that voter and then validate do they live in the district,” Brown says. “Do they live in the city of Nixa? If both of those qualify then that signature will count.”

Brown says she hopes to have that process completed by the end of the week. If there are enough signatures, there will be a special election in November.

The city says there are a lot of factors that go into estimating the cost of that potential special election but it could cost taxpayers up to $10,000-$15,000.

Brown says she’s never seen something like this in her 19 years in office.

“It is the first time I’ve done a petition to recall an office-holder,” Brown says.

Mayor Steele says something like this is very rare.

“Normally it would be when someone has done something they consider to be illegal or immoral,” Mayor Steele says.

Mayor Steele says he understands people not supporting his decision to enforce masking.

“That’s part of government,” Mayor Steele says. “You’re not going to agree with every decision that’s made, but I hope they would understand that I always had the city’s best interest at heart.”

Mayor Steele says if there is a recall election, he hopes residents consider his last seven years in office.

“I hope that people wouldn’t judge me and my term in office just off of one decision,” Mayor Steele says.

KY3 reached out to the recall committee several times Tuesday for an interview on the petition. They declined to comment.

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