Missouri mayor resigns, to leave state due to ongoing threats made on social media

The mayor of a small town in Missouri resigned Monday after only a year in the position and is poised to move his family out of state “in a matter of days” as a result of ongoing threats on social media, he wrote.

Fred Wiedner, the now former mayor of Lexington, Mo., said in his resignation letter that the “recent hatred, attacks, and outright lies hurled in my direction on Facebook by some citizens of this community are absolutely disgusting.” 

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“I did not sign up for this mess. Or, possibly I did and just didn’t realize how mean people could be,” Wiedner said in the letter released by the mayor’s office. “Either way, it is no longer worth the battle.”

Fred Wiedner resigned from his position as the mayor of Lexington, Mo. after one year, citing ongoing threats made against him online.

Fred Wiedner resigned from his position as the mayor of Lexington, Mo. after one year, citing ongoing threats made against him online. (COURTESY OF CARLA GHISALBERTI, LEXINGTON CITY CLERK)

A Lexington city clerk said the messages of hate against Wiedner began in March after the mayor made the decision to fire a well-liked administrator. The man was accused of promoting a ballot measure while still on the city government's payroll-- an apparent cause for dismissal. A Missouri ethics commission later found no evidence to support the allegations, according to Kansas City’s KCTV station.

Wiedner indirectly addressed the issue of the administrator in his letter, saying he would have waited four weeks before firing him if he could do it over, but he still made every decision in “the best interest of the City of Lexington.” The close-knit town has a population of roughly 5,000 people, according to the most recent census records.

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The former mayor said he took a job in another state, put his home on the market and will move his family out of the town and state as soon as possible. Scott Lynn, a previous city councilman, will serve as mayor pro tem until the town votes on a new mayor in November.