Citing Health Concerns, Justin Burnett Resigns from Springfield City Council

Jan 14, 2016

Credit Justin Burnett

Springfield City Councilman Justin Burnett is resigning citing health issues stemming from his time commitment to the position.

Burnett, who held the Zone 2 seat, was elected last April.

A news release states that the councilman had said the hours required by the council, as well as his job and schooling led to negative consequences regarding his health.

Burnett distributed a letter Thursday to City Council indicating his resignation will be effective Friday.

Burnett’s push for a stronger indecent exposure law last year drew strong opposition from some citizens, even resulting in a petition process to remove Burnett from office.

In his resignation letter, Burnett apologized to any community member he may have offended by some of his tough decisions.

"Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say, but rest assured that every decision that I have ever made was an attempt to represent the constituents that contacted me,” he wrote. “In the spirit of reuniting the community, which I stated as an initial goal after taking office, I do also hope that my resignation will serve a dual purpose by saving the time, money, and energy of those who sought to recall me and allow our city to heal and move forward towards solving several key issues in the New Year.”

He continued that race, religion, sex, age, or sexual orientation were never factors in his policy making.

“It is often said that "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," however, words do have a profound impact on one's health, which I can attest to. As a public figure, if I have ever spoken regarding policy in a manner that hurt you or anyone in the community, that was not my intention and I do sincerely apologize. I wish nothing short of health, wealth, and happiness for each member of this community—both those on the right and on the left.”

Mayor Bob Stephens said he was saddened to hear of Burnett’s resignation.

“However, one’s health must be paramount and you cannot take care of the community if you don’t take care of yourself,” said Mayor Bob Stephens. “Obviously, we wish Justin the best as he moves forward with other endeavors."

The city says it will distribute information next week regarding the process by which City Council members are replaced.