By Jerry LaMartina
Jim Wymer has resigned his Ward 2 seat on the Merriam City Council because of serious health problems.
Wymer was first elected to the council in 2001 and served until 2005. He was elected back on to the council in 2013, and his current term was set to end in November. The move opens up another vacancy on the city’s governing body, which has seen sitting councilmembers depart mid-term in recent years. The council had to fill two vacancies about two years ago. Scott Diebold filled the Ward 1 seat vacated by Chad Rowe. Cheryl Moore filled the Ward 4 seat vacated by Todd Boyer.
“We were sorry to see him go,” Mayor Ken Sissom said at the Monday’s council meeting of Wymer’s departure. “It was not an easy decision by Mr. Wymer, but I think he would agree it was the right decision for him and his family at this stage. We hope that his recovery is complete and swift.”
City Administrator Chris Engel said this week that those interested in applying to fill the Ward 2 seat for the remainder of Wymer’s term had 30 days from Monday to submit a letter of interest and qualifications to the city clerk. Within 30 days of that deadline, the council will conduct public interviews of all eligible candidates.
The council will narrow the field, and then the city clerk will create a ballot of all eligible candidates. The council will narrow the list to two and then vote for Wymer’s successor. That should happen at its Feb. 13 or Feb. 27 meeting, Engel said.
Wymer said that he’d been attending Merriam’s council meetings for four or five years and decided to run for the council seat the first time because of what he saw as an unfair use of city authority.
“I got upset when they used eminent domain to take a business property and turned it into Baron BMW,” he said.
In 2003, he told then-Mayor Irene B. French he wanted her to be more open with details of the new city hall she wanted built.
“She said, ‘I don’t make deals with nobody,’” Wymer said. “So, I shut down the building of a new city hall while she was in office. She and I became friends before she died (in December 2013). She found out that if I liked something, I’d support it. I ran for public office to do what was best for the whole community. We’ve got a council now that if one wants to vote for something, everybody follows suit.”
Wymer was born in Pleasanton, Kan., and has lived in Merriam for 70 years, starting before it became a municipality. He owned J.L. Wymer Construction, which he closed about three years ago. He’s also a U.S. Army veteran. He served from 1963 to 1966, first in Korea and then in Vietnam.
“I transported explosives to units that were pinned down on hillsides,” he said.
His plans now, he said, are “trying to feel better so I can get out of the house once in awhile, other than going the VA hospital.”