Shaffer misses final council meeting after being hospitalized

Ron Shaffer's seat behind the Prairie Village city council dais was empty during the committee of the whole meeting Monday. Council president Ashley Weaver, who will be serving as interim mayor, took the seat during the council meeting later in the evening.
Ron Shaffer’s seat behind the Prairie Village city council dais was empty during the committee of the whole meeting Monday. Council president Ashley Weaver, who will be serving as interim mayor, took the seat during the council meeting later in the evening.

Prairie Village Mayor Ron Shaffer missed what was expected to be his final City Council meeting as Prairie Village Mayor Monday after being admitted to the hospital for a medical procedure.

City Administrator Quinn Bennion made the announcement as the Council of the Whole meeting convened at 6 p.m. He noted that Shaffer would be in the hospital until at least Wednesday, but did not discuss additional details about Shaffer’s condition.

Councilor Laura Wassmer responded to the announcement with a series of remarks on Shaffer’s dedication to his role as “Prairie Village’s biggest cheerleader.”

“I used to giggle when he would give his mayor’s report and list all of the things he’d done representing the city,” Wassmer said. “I think he was literally doing something every day for 25 years to represent this city. I wish he could be here to hear this.”

In Shaffer’s absence, the council reviewed the protocol for selecting someone to fill the remainder of his term.

Current council president Ashley Weaver of Ward 1 will become interim mayor when Shaffer officially steps down the morning of Monday, Jan. 12, before his swearing in as the District 1 Board of County Commissioners representative. The council will then have the option of electing a permanent replacement to serve as mayor until April, when residents will go to the poll to select someone for a new four-year term.

If the council elects one of its members to fill the remainder of Shaffer’s term, that councilor would be forced to relinquish his or her council seat. It’s possible that the new mayor elected in the April could reappoint the councilor elected to fill Shaffer’s term until April back to the seat he or she gave up — but it’s not required.

The other option for the council is to decline to elect a permanent replacement to fill the remainder of Shaffer’s term, in which case Weaver would continue to serve as the “interim mayor” until the April election.

The filing deadline for the April Prairie Village mayoral election is January 27. At this point, no candidates have filed with the Johnson County Election Office.