Mayor & Council

Official Seal of the City of Nixa
Official Seal of the City of Nixa
2023 City Council group composite
Current City Council
Overview

The Mayor and 6 city council members are elected by Nixa voters. They are your voice for implementing ordinances and laws. These are volunteer positions which are paid a stipend to cover costs related to their public service. These elected officials are not considered city staff and they do not work full-time from City Hall. Nixa has a Mayor-City Administrator form of government as defined by the city’s Home Rule Charter. This means the City Administrator is the highest-ranking member of city staff, appointed by the Mayor and Council to manage the day-to-day operations of the city.

Powers & Responsibilities of the City Council

Learn more about the powers and responsibilities of the Mayor, Council Members, and City Administrator by reviewing our Home Rule Charter.

Council Districts

Each council member is elected for 3-year terms to represent the citizens of Nixa. Nixa has 3 council districts and each district has two council members. Their terms are staggered so that each year, two council seats are up for election, but not from the same district. The Mayor is elected as an “at-large” seat by voters in all 3 districts.

Type your address into the interactive council district map to see which district you reside in.

Invite A Public Official to Your Event

You may invite the Mayor, Council Member, or any other city official to attend your event by completing the online form.

More Tools

Current Council

You are welcome to contact the Mayor or your district’s council members to voice a concern or appreciation.

Select the plus button to learn more about each council member and to view their contact information.

Jarad Giddens

Mayor
jgiddens@nixa.com
417-714-0735

Jarad Giddens is Mayor of the City of Nixa and previously served as a council member representing District 1. He is the Director of Business Development for Meridian Title Company and is involved in many community and industry organizations.

Jarad was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, but moved to Springfield at a young age. He graduated from Kickapoo High School and attended OTC and MSU, but says, “I enjoyed work more than going to class, so I decided to begin my professional career a little early.”

He began living in Nixa during his college years, and never wanted to leave. Jarad and his wife, Ashley, loved the small-town feel of Nixa and its amazing schools so they decided to stay and raise their daughters Alivia and Elise right here. “That was one of the best decisions we ever made,” says Giddens.

Giddens says he was inspired to run for council by watching the spirit of volunteerism exemplified by his parents. His vision is to help our community grow by helping larger businesses open their doors in Nixa. He says, “We currently have some amazing small businesses and that is a huge part of what makes Nixa great. However, we need to create more jobs to provide the residents of Nixa with opportunities to work here too.”

Giddens previously served on the city’s Home Rule Charter Review Commission and Planning & Zoning Commission. He says that experience helped him become familiar with the people involved with the city government. “I feel like the best part of my experience has been the new relationships which challenge me to be the best possible person and councilman for my district.”

Jarad says he is excited to serve the residents of Nixa as their Mayor, “I will always make every effort possible to be available to my constituents, so they always know they have a voice.”

Jarad Giddens’ current term will expire in April 2026.

Matt Ogden

District 1
Council Member
mogden@nixa.com
417-224-0814

Matt Ogden has represented District 1 since September 2022. Initially appointed to serve temporarily following the resignation of a prior council member, Ogden then won election in April of 2023 to a full 3-year term.

Born and raised in Lockwood, Missouri, Matt graduated high school in his home town before earning his Associates of Applied Science Degree in Electrical Distribution from State Technical College of Missouri. He went on to a career as an electrical line worker with Ozark Electric, where he built power distribution systems. He now teaches electric distribution at OTC Richwood Valley Campus.

Matt and his wife moved to Nixa from Crane in 2011 and has influenced other family members to also move into the city. “What I enjoy most about Nixa is we see neighbors helping each other,” says Ogden. “We support each other and it’s a great place to raise a family. Nixa isn’t a big city but it has amenities which make it just right for young families.”

“I believe in making Nixa even better,” says Ogden. “I was encouraged to run for council by Jarad Giddens a few years ago. He said if you want to be involved in making the community better, you should serve on council.” Ogden says he wants to ensure the community is safe, growing responsibly, and helping families achieve better things for their lives. With his background in utilities, he hopes to see Nixa Utilities upgrade its metering infrastructure.

“I’ve learned a lot about the processes of municipal government and the reasons government moves slow sometimes to ensure things are thoroughly reviewed, with transparency and public input. It means things are slower than the private sector, but I appreciate that these processes help ensure the city is making good decisions,” Ogden says.

“If constituents have any questions, please reach out. I do my best to be honest and straight forward with people.”

Ogdens’ current term will expire in April 2026.

Shawn Lucas

District 2
Council Member
slucas@nixa.com
417-986-1399

Shawn Lucas has served on city council since April, 2021. He works as a territory manager in the food distribution industry.

Shawn was born in Illinois and raised in Kansas, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Ottawa University in 1999. Shawn, his wife Tina, and their daughters Teagan and Eliza moved to Nixa in 2013 when he accepted a promotion which required a move to 417-land. He says, “We chose Nixa primarily on what we had read and heard about the schools,” noting that the move also brought them closer to family in the Branson area. He says he loves that Nixa retains a small-town feel despite its rapid growth.

Shawn decided to run for city council because he enjoys being involved in things that can make a difference in the community and because a friend told him he might be good at public service due to his long history of volunteerism and involvement in community activities. He says, “I simply want to do my part to help Nixa continue to grow and be better tomorrow than it already is today.”

Shawn says he has been impressed by the kindness and helpfulness of everyone at City Hall. He hopes to help the city accomplish the priorities outlined in the strategic plan which is based on community feedback. However, he was surprised by low turnout in local municipal elections. “Every vote can truly make a difference,” says Shawn, “I believe that voting for local government has a bigger impact on our personal day-to-day lives than any state or national election could ever have.”

Shawn Lucas’ current term will expire in April 2024.

Darlene Graham

District 3
Council Member
dgraham@nixa.com
417-725-2841

Darlene Graham represents District 3. She is a retired high school teacher of 25 years and mother of four children. She graduated from SMSU with a double major in English and Theater. Darlene was born and raised in eastern Missouri and moved to Nixa in 1976. She says she loves the close-knit, friendly atmosphere in Nixa.

Darlene says she decided to run for council because she has a passion to serve the community, “Representing the citizens of Nixa is worth my time because their concerns are my concerns, and helping decide what is best for our city based on their input is very important to me.”

Since joining the council, Darlene says the biggest thing she has learned is why the wheels of government move slowly. “Decisions that affect Nixa are not made without thoroughly investigating the need for a project and then finding the funds to complete them,” she says. For Darlene, one of the best parts of serving on council is setting the record straight when residents ask her about rumors they hear, “When I am able to put a rumor to rest for them makes me feel good.”

Parks are a priority for Darlene. She would like to see the city acquire more parkland and facilities, particularly on the west side of Highway 160. She says, “I want to be a part of helping Nixa grow to be the best city that we, as citizens, can make it.”

Darlene wants Nixa residents to know she cares about their concerns and welcomes their input. She enjoys explaining the city’s progress on issues to the residents of her district and tries to listen and vote based on their values.

Darlene Graham’s current term will expire in April 2026.

Zern Vess

District 1
Council Member
zvess@nixa.com
417-429-4998

Zern Vess has represented District 1 since first winning election to council in April of 2023.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany while his father was on assignment there with the US Army, Zern then grew up in Laquey, Missouri, a small town near Fort Leonard Wood. After high school, Zern graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Missouri State University (SMS at the time).

Zern and his wife Dani own and operate Signarama, a full-service sign shop serving Southwest Missouri. Their business has earned awards for customer service, sign design, and more.

The Vess family moved to Nixa in the fall of 2014 after having left the Springfield area for some years following Zern’s career with Enterprise Rent-a-car. They wanted to move back to Missouri to be closer to family and they chose Nixa because of interactions they experienced in the community and because they were drawn to our award-winning schools. “Nixa felt like a great place to live and raise a family and the community has held up its part of the bargain,” says Vess. “My oldest daughter graduated from Nixa in 2020 and my youngest currently attends Nixa High school.

“I enjoy the pride and ownership Nixa citizens have for our town,” Vess says, adding, “I have met and worked with some of the most driven people from Nixa.

Vess hopes to help Nixa attract retail and manufacturing businesses to Nixa as well as outdoor recreational opportunities including parks improvements, walking paths and biking trails.

“I don’t like talking about myself, so I’d much rather talk with citizens about their concerns and ideas for how we can improve the community,” says Vess. “Feel free to reach out and I’ll do my best to find answers to your questions or have a productive conversation. I’m eager to help!”

 

Zern Vess’ current term will expire in April of 2024.

Aron Peterson

Mayor Pro Tem, District 2
Council Member
apeterson@nixa.com
417-724-2897

Aron Peterson has represented District 2 since 2010. Aron works as a third-party contractor specializing in logistics for the Cheese and Dairy Procurement Group at Kraft Heinz. Born in Germany and raised in South Dakota and Iowa, Aron completed his Business Administration degree at Evangel University. His family moved to Nixa in 1997 for the exceptional schools and to be close to their church, Nixa First Assembly of God, where he, his lovely wife Shawn, and their two beautiful daughters Ashely and Emiley attend. Aron says he likes Nixa because, “it still has a small town feel even though the population has doubled since we moved here.”

Aron decided to run for council after a friend recommended he fill the seat she was vacating. He says being involved with council enables him to be a facilitator of change, not simply a spectator of it. When he first joined council, Aron says he was, “not aware of the number of ordinances and resolutions the council has to decide whether or not to enact.” He was also, “amazed to find out the city’s budget is primarily funded by the 1 cent sales tax.”

While Aron says Nixa is great place to live and play, he wants to make it a better place to work. That’s why his goal is to find innovative ways to spur substantial economic growth, such as a business incubator. He also wants to improve the infrastructure around the Missouri Street corridor, see the establishment of a skate park, and continue to see more sidewalks connect across the city. Aron says the best part of serving on council is, “the interaction I have with the constituents of my district. Having the ability to work as a liaison between the citizens of Nixa and the city is very rewarding.”

 

Aron Peterson’s current term will expire in April 2025.

Kelly Morris

District 3
Council Member
kmorris@nixa.com
417-319-7853

Kelly Morris has represented District 3 since April 2023, when she was first elected to complete the last 2 years of a previous official’s term. Morris currently works for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy.

Born in Palm Springs, California, Morris was raised in Nixa from the age of 3. A 2012 graduate of Nixa High School, she attended OTC where she graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in 2016 before heading to Missouri State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminology in 2018. She then attended Drury University’s Police Academy, graduating in 2019 with her Peace Officer License.

Morris says her family chose to move to Nixa because of how safe it was. Her grandparents located in Nixa first and her parents then moved Kelly and her sister to Nixa to be close to them. “When my grandpa asked the sheriff at the time which town was safer, Nixa or Ozark, he said Nixa,” says Morris. “We’re still here and now I take great pride in contributing to preservation of our community safety.”

I love that Nixa maintains a small town feel and also offers opportunities for growth and improvement,” Morris says. “I love that I can drive down Rt. 14, wave at people I recognize and they will wave back. I love seeing neighbors helping neighbors throughout town.”

Morris says she ran for council because she wanted to help make Nixa even greater than it already is. I have a young son now, and I want to be part of the positive impact city council has and will continue to have for him and our future generations.

“A dream of mine would be to help bring more local businesses and a larger variety of restaurants to Nixa,” she says. “I really enjoy the helpfulness of other council members and the city staff. Everyone is very helpful and has so much knowledge on the issues which come before the council, which helps council make informed decisions.”

 

Kelly Morris’ current term will expire in April 2025.

Meetings

City Council Meetings

The public is invited to all city council meetings, which are held at Nixa City Hall at 715 W. Mt. Vernon St.

  • Regular meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of every month.
  • When a regular meeting falls on a holiday, the Council will meet the following day at the same time and place.
  • Special meetings will be posted at Nixa City Hall and will be listed on the city’s website calendar.

If you would like to speak on any subject during a council meeting, contact the City Clerk at 417-725-3785 for procedures.

Regular meetings of Nixa City Council are now streamed live on our YouTube channel and recordings of meetings remain on the channel if you wish to view them at a later date.

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Past Mayors
Jarad Giddens

April 2023 – Present

April 2014 – April 2023

Brian Steele
Sam Clifton

April 2010 – April 2014

February 2010 – April 2010

Barb Stillings
Brian Hayes

April 2008 – February 2010

April 2002 – April 2008

Doug Marrs
Jay M. Wasson, Jr.

August 1997 – April 2002

April 1994 – August 1997

Sharon Whitehill
Jack B. Payne

April 1992 – April 1994

April 1990 – December 1991

Luther Meadows
Dwain R. Stoops

April 1988 – April 1990

April 1986 – April 1988

C.P. Fredrick
Bill Chitwood, Jr.

April 1982 – April 1986

April 1980 – April 1982

Luther Meadows
Claude Phillips

April 1978 – April 1980

April 1976 – Aril 1978

Edna Wasson
Claude Phillips

April 1972 – April 1976

April 1966 – April 1972

Kirk Hawkins
L.I. Wilhite

July 1965 – April 1966

April 1964 – July 1965

Finis Gold
Kirk Hawkins

January 1956 – April 1964

October 1946 – January 1956

Charley Jaqua
L.D. McCroskey

April 1946 – October 1946