By Steve White email@example.com
Confusion reigns at Grand Island City Hall, where Mayor Jay Vavricek now finds himself the target of a recall campaign. Paperwork was filed Friday seeking to remove the mayor from office.
Stamped at 9:57 a-m, the affidavit prepared by Jeb Wolsleben says "the mayor has totally ignored the wishes of city council" who were ready to move without City Administrator Mary Lou Brown who turned in her resignation one month ago.
"Then he's brazen enough to have her come back that was the final straw," Wolsleben said. "I've had enough. I'm done."
In an interview with NTV on Thursday, Vavricek attempted to clarify why Brown may continue through her September 30 resignation date, despite having already left city hall.
He said, "There's been some confusion what her role is, exodus, any number of things and just need to have that understanding how we're proceeding today and then what steps are in place tomorrow."
After asking for Brown's resignation, Vavricek quickly named a former city administrator to the post in the interim. Marlan Ferguson was praised as a smart choice for the job. But Vavricek now says that can't happen, because Brown is still in the position.
Vavricek said, "I just had to slow down and think it through."
That's a big source of frustration with city council members who praised Vavricek for cutting ties with Brown just one month ago.
City Council President Peg Gilbert said, "We felt like her resignation was a positive step forward and we want to keep that momentum going as quickly as possible."
Council members aren't surprised citizens would attempt a recall.
"I think this has been coming, " Councilman Chuck Haase said, adding that something is amiss with Vavricek, who was hospitalized last month.
Haase said, "I'm definitely concerned about his health. This is not the same Jay Vavricek I've known and enjoyed for years."
Whatever has changed, Jeb Wolsleben says Vavricek's decision making is "embarrassing."
"He has effectively lost confidence of Grand Island," Wolsleben said.
The recall organizer has sought elected office without much success. He campaigned for city council and applied for a vacant seat on the school board. He grew up in Grand Island and works at a local pharmacy.
Some have already questioned if he's the one to lead such an effort, city council members say it's no surprise someone took this step.
NTV reached out to Vavricek for comment, but he has not responded.
How the Recall Works
The recall effort may be underway, but it's far from a done deal.
The mayor will receive a formal notice from Election Commissioner Dale Baker and he will then have 20 days to respond.
Any rebuttal statement from him would be included on the petitions.
The recall organizer would then have 30 days to collect around 3,300 signatures.
That means Wolsleben would have to collect more than a hundred a day and those have to be from registered Grand Island voters.
Since the November ballot will be set on September first, this would likely be too late to appear on the general election.
It could prompt a special election which could cost taxpayers around $20,000, according to the office of the election commissioner.