The Springfield City Council at the end of 2022. From left, Abe McGull, Andrew Lear, Monica Horton, Craig Hosmer, Mayor Ken McClure, Matthew Simpson, Mike Schilling, Heather Hardinger and Richard Ollis. (Photo provided by the city of Springfield)

Ten Springfield residents will run for spots on the Springfield City Council or the mayor’s office in April 2023.

In a move that may have surprised some, fourth-generation Springfieldian Richard Ollis will not be among them. The incumbent for General Seat D did not file a petition for the municipal election at the 5 p.m. deadline Jan. 17. Instead, he will step away from the City Council and concentrate on a new mixture of personal, professional and public service ventures.

Ollis was appointed to the City Council in 2017 and was elected to a full term in 2019.

Two other incumbents — General Councilman Andrew Lear (Seat C) and Zone 3 Councilman Mike Schilling — had earlier announced they would not seek reelection, creating chances for someone new to serve on the Springfield City Council.

“I’ve been vacillating, frankly, over the last several months,” Ollis said of his decision not to run. 

He is also on the board of directors for Restore SGF, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring older houses in some of Springfield’s more historic neighborhoods, and then building private investor confidence in those neighborhoods. Ollis has been a leader in Forward SGF from its inception, and will be one of its first 11 directors.

Ollis shared that he has two daughters, both of whom have moved away from Springfield. One lives in Germany, and Ollis and his wife plan to go and visit her. 

“That requires an overseas trip, and we’re going to do that,” Ollis said. “Obviously, I’m not going to have quite the time I had to devote to council. The main thing is we received our IRS [nonprofit] status with Restore SGF and seated our board.”

Ollis is the chairman of Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance Agency. Ollis said he enjoyed bringing the mindset of a business owner into his role in city government.

“As a business person, I kind of believe that a good economy floats a lot of boats and gives people a lot of opportunity, and so anything that we were involved with that promoted the economy moving forward, and frankly, quality of life issues around our community — those are the issues that I will miss the most,” Ollis said.

With Ollis’ spot on the council open, engineer Derek Lee faces architect Bruce Adib-Yazdi. Lee is a civil engineer who previously worked for the city of Springfield, and also served on the Springfield Board of Adjustment. He applied for appointment to fill a vacancy on the City Council in 2018, but the position went to Matthew Simpson. Adib-Yazdi, according to his online resume, is a past president of the Ozark Greenways Board of Directors, and is the vice president of development for the Vecino Group in Springfield.

Makeup of City Council will change

In council races where the incumbents petitioned and filed for reelection, there are no challengers. Zone 1 Councilwoman Monica Horton runs for a full term for the first time in her legislative career. Horton was appointed to fill a vacancy representing northwest Springfield in 2022. 

In Zone 2, or northeast Springfield, attorney Abe McGull is unopposed in a bid for reelection. McGull seeks a second term, having been first elected in 2019.

The Springfield City Charter allows a mayor to serve a maximum of four two-year terms. McClure is in his third term, and says he has collected the signatures necessary to run for what would be a fourth and final term as mayor. He faces a challenge from Melanie Bach, whose public profile rose during a ballot referendum election involving the Galloway Village neighborhood in November 2022.

Bach led a citywide campaign against a referendum zoning measure for Elevation Enterprises’ property on Lone Pine Avenue. She then turned her attention toward campaigning to be Springfield’s next mayor, resigning from her job as a records clerk in the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in order to do so.

More than 70 percent of the 46,616 Springfield voters who cast ballots Nov. 8 voted against Springfield Question 1, a referendum question that would have rezoned 4.2 acres of land in the 3500 block of South Lone Pine Avenue. The referendum zoning proposal met overwhelming defeat, with 32,862 voters saying, “No.”

April 2023 candidates for Springfield City Council

Mayor: Ken McClure, Melanie Bach

Zone 1: Monica Horton

Zone 2: Abe McGull

Zone 3: David Nokes, Brandon Jenson

General C: Callie Carroll, Jeremy Dean

General D: Derek Lee, Bruce Adib-Yazdi

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger