Councilman's dying wish unfulfilled due to action by mayor

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cancer victim had hoped his daughter would succeed him.

The Associated Press

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- The widow of a city council member wants his appointed successor removed from office to fulfill her husband's dying wish that his daughter finish his term.

Councilman Bob Daffer died in January of colon cancer. Marilyn Daffer said her husband had wanted his daughter, Traci Daffer, to take his seat on the city council until next April's election -- which he hoped would be won by Sheila Solon, chairwoman of the Planning Commission in this Kansas City suburb.

But those desires were thwarted when Mayor Steve Steiner instead appointed Traci Via, a former chairwoman of the city's chamber of commerce board, to fill the vacancy.

"Sheila was the one he basically was hoping will take his place if he wasn't going to run again," Marilyn Daffer said. "His dying wish was for our Traci to serve out his remaining term only, but he actually wanted Sheila to replace him long term, and he told me that on several occasions. She has the same ideas and beliefs Bob had on the direction of the city, particularly how District 3 should go."

Now, Solon will be running against Via during municipal elections in April. She has the Daffer family's support. Former state legislator Carson Ross also is campaigning for Solon in the race that has divided the city into factions.

Backed by the mayor

Via, who is running with Steiner's support, said she has been a proven leader and an asset to the city during its rapid growth.

"I enjoy exploring and developing solutions which will satisfy even those who maybe are of a different opinion," Via said.

Solon feels the mayor and Via should have honored the wishes of Daffer, who had served the city for nearly 17 years.

"It was upsetting to all of his supporters to see his wishes and desires ignored," she said. "With the loss of Bob Daffer we lost the team's spirit and cohesive leadership we had for many years in District 3."

Information from: The Kansas City Star,

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