Residency requirement to be discussed at next meeting.

With rumors swirling about Shawnee commissioner John Winterringer’s residence, the commission will discuss, and possibly make a decision regarding Winterringer’s seat on the commission, at their next meeting Oct. 7.

Rumors began circulating that Winterringer, who is currently the Ward 5 commissioner, was no longer living in his ward. According to the city’s charter, if a commissioner’s residence changes to be outside of their ward they will no longer be on the commission and the remaining commission will convene and decide who will fill the empty seat.

Winterringer confirmed to the Shawnee News-Star Thursday that he is currently staying at his parents’ home to assist them. His parents live in Ward 1. He added that he leased his house to a family for the school year.

“This is temporary,” he said.

Commissioner Keith Hall requested that the matter be added to the next commission meeting agenda, after City Attorney Mary Ann Karns emailed commissioners to inform them of the situation and of their options.

Karns explained in the emails that the matter depends on the definition of residence. The commission will have to decide whether or not Winterringer’s residence changed after discussion and vote.

She explained that residence isn’t only decided by where a person is physically. It can also be determined by where their house is, where they receive their mail, and other factors. She cited military personnel who live overseas for a period. Their residence doesn’t change simply because they aren’t present, Karns said.

Hall said he added the matter to the agenda to answer questions and resolve any circulating rumors.

“That’s my only intention,” he said. “I thought those questions [about his residence] were valid questions and we need to discuss this in an open forum.”

Winterringer said he wrote a letter to the mayor and to the city of Shawnee explaining the situation, and added that while he hopes to keep his seat, it is up to the commission.

“It’s whatever the other commissioners think is best for Shawnee,” he said. “I would like to finish my term, but if the commission doesn’t think it’s best for Shawnee, I’ll respect that.”