Mark Spohn Named Mayor of Excelsior Springs as Renne, St. John Join City Council

Stephen Spear, Gary Renne, Sonya Morgan, Reggie St. John, and Mark Spohn (photo Courtney Cole).

On April 4, 2023, the City of Excelsior Springs held an election to elect two council members. The results of the election were first certified by the Clay County Board of Election Commissioners and Ray County Clerk, and during a special session, on Friday, April 14, 2023, the Excelsior Springs City Council passed an ordinance, marking the official announcement of the election of Gary Renne and Reggie St. John to the Excelsior Springs City Council.

Gary Renne and Reggie St. John take their oath of office before being seated on the council (photo Courtney Cole).

Renne and St. John fill vacancies left by outgoing council members Andrew Kowalski and outgoing mayor, Sharon Powell who both stepped down voluntarily. Kowalski was recognized for his service at the City Council meeting on April 3rd. During the special session on Friday, a proclamation was read that recognized Mayor Powell’s leadership and dedication to the City of Excelsior Springs, Missouri over the past 6 years.

Mayor Powell has been instrumental in numerous projects and initiatives during her time on the council but she has been serving the community for much longer. She spent thirty years in education and retired as an Elementary School Principal in 2008. After retiring, she injected her positive energy into the community by serving on the Parks and Recreation Board, where she later became Board President and led the Community Center Steering Committee, resulting in the establishment of the Community Center. Mayor Powell also served on various boards and commissions, including the Parks Foundation, Downtown Excelsior Partnership Board, and Capital Improvements/Transportation Trust Board Authority, among others.

Mayor Powell’s won her first election for City Council Member in April 2014, served as Mayor Pro-Tem from April 2016 to June 2020, and as Mayor from June 2020 until this past Friday, April 14, 2023. The proclamation was a fitting tribute to a leader who served the city with distinction and has helped shape it into the wonderful place it is today.

Following the recognition of the outgoing council members, Renne and St. John were sworn in and took their seats. An official roll-call of new members was taken and shortly after, the council commenced the selection process for the mayor and mayor pro tempore.

Excelsior Springs operates under a council-manager form of government where a professional city manager serves as the chief executive officer and handles the day-to-day administration of the city. The council members, have a supervisory role, heavily relying on city employees to execute their decisions and provide recommendations back to the council.

The council votes to elect the mayor and mayor pro tempore from among their own members. While the mayor serves as the ceremonial head of the city, represents the city at public events, signs official documents, and presides over city council meetings, they do not hold any more authority than other council members. In the absence, disability, or vacancy of the mayor, the mayor pro tempore takes over the mayor’s responsibilities. However, being the mayor pro tempore does not guarantee automatic promotion to the position of mayor at the end of the term. The selection of mayor and mayor pro tempore occurs after every municipal election in which council members are elected.

Watch the full special session on the Excelsior Citizen YouTube Channel!

Each council member was handed slips of paper to cast their vote for the mayor. City Clerk, Shannon Stroud, collected and read aloud the votes: 4 for Mark Spohn and 1 for Sonya Morgan.

The vote amongst the council for mayor pro tempore was: 3 votes Stephen Spear, 1 vote Sonya Morgan, 1 vote Reggie St. John.

With the election process over and council positions set, Excelsior Springs citizens are now looking forward to seeing what the new council members will bring to the table and how they will contribute to the development of the city.

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