WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – James Clendenin announced he will resign from the Wichita City Council effective Dec. 31, 2020.
Clendenin has been under fire for his alleged involvement in a political attack ad against Mayor Brandon Whipple while Whipple was running for Wichita mayor.
Last month, District Attorney Marc Bennett filed court papers asking for the ouster of Clendenin who represents District 3. Bennett said Clendenin made false allegations against Whipple through his part in the “Protect Wichita Girls, Stop Brandon Whipple” video.
Clendenin made his announcement during the council meeting this morning.
“With a heavy heart and deep disappointment, today I regret to announce this will be my last meeting as council member representing District III,” he said.
“This is neither the time nor the place for discussing or debating the specifics of allegations being made against me, or why I’m choosing today and this forum to make this announcement,” he said. “Let it be enough, for now, that I recognize that I have become a distraction from the critically important work of this council and from this city that I love and have served for nearly a decade. I cannot in good conscience allow that to continue.”
Clendenin made his comments during the “appointments and comments” part of the meeting. After he finished, there was no reaction from Mayor Whipple or the other council members.
“Further announcements?” Whipple asked and the meeting continued.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell and Kansas Representative Michael Capps have also been linked to the attack ad. O’Donnell resigned from his position. Capps was not reelected.
Process for replacing Clendenin
There is a process for filling a vacancy on the Wichita City Council for an unexpired term. Clendenin’s term is until Jan. 10, 2022.
The first step is the mayor announcing the vacancy at the next regular meeting.
People who want the position will then have three weeks to get a petition form from the Sedgwick County Election Office, get a minimum of 100 valid signatures from qualified voters who live in District III, and file it with the Wichita City Clerk: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the petitions are validated, the District III Advisory Board will have a meeting. The members will have a list of questions to ask the candidates and a standardized scoring sheet.
The city clerk’s office will tally the scoring sheet. If there are four or fewer candidates, they all move on in the process. If there are more than four, no fewer than four and no more than five with the highest scores move on in the process.
Current council members will have individual meetings with each candidate before the next regular meeting. The council members will then vote on who to appoint as the newest council member at their next meeting.
The winning nominee will be sworn in at the next city council meeting.