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Neosho Council Member Removed From Office

The Neosho City Council is down one member after an official forfeits her seat, but not willingly. Action 12's Liz Bryant has more.
The Neosho City Council is down one member after an official forfeits her seat, but not willingly.

Heather Bowers seat is vacant after she missed three consecutive council meetings. City leaders say they are following charter rules. But Bowers is not going-out without a fight.
She says the other council members wanted her out and did everything they could to see that her absences were not excused.

Just minutes after Tuesday's Neosho City Council meeting, member Heather Bowers is locked out of her position. "I made them all aware I had a new job and that I would be late to some of the meetings. I was assured that would be okay" says, Bowers. Yesterday's session lasted approximately 15 minutes. Bowers did arrive. But it was too late. The meeting was adjourned. "Telling the city clerk I'm going to be late. Doesn't qualify as an excuse" says, Neosho City Attorney Steve Hays. Bowers says, "they have waited several minutes for Matt to attend when he had given notice."

The tardy resulted in Bower's third consecutive absence. Of the three, none were excused. The charter states in black and white- 3 unexcused absences- you forfeit your seat. But Bowers says the council failed to even discuss her absences to decide if she would be excused. "It's not the responsibility of the council or the mayor to bring it up. A council member may if they decide.� But it is not something that's an automatic requirement that has to be done" says, Hays.

Mayor Richard Davidson acknowledges that bowers sent him text messages a few minutes before two of the absences saying her child was sick. But Davidson and Hays say it was not a formal way of asking council to excuse her absence. However, city officials acknowledge there is no set procedure for how council excuses an absence. "I think there was discrimination in the fact of their procedures and rules for operating" says, Bowers.

Heather says she will request a hearing before council to try and re-obtain her position.

Hays has been the city attorney since 1999 and says during his term a council member has not been fired.
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