By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
The Motorola phone lies next to a bible and a coffee mug.
During a quiet moment at city hall, Jay Vavricek put the mayor's signature on official business.
But there weren't many of those moments on Friday. His cell phone has been ringing since he gave his number out on a flyer mailed to thousands of Grand Island homes.
"I get calls, sure, when you put your personal cell number it just shows I can be reached anytime," he explained.
He's received dozens of calls in the last day, since that glossy flyer hit mailboxes.
He's quick to point out he's writing the check.
He said, "No city dollars, no tax dollars, privately funded."
So why do this? Vavricek says it's a continuation of his State of the City address.
He was the first mayor to give a regular report, and calls the flyer another innovation.
"Great community, outstanding community," he said. "We ought to relish in the hard work of so many people and yet we need to start talking about the future and have a conversation – all part of this effort too."
It's been a rocky year for Vavricek, censured by city council, and the subject of a recall attempt amidst lawsuits and several high profile changes in his administration.
He says he wants to send a strong message about creating jobs, fighting crime, and addressing community needs.
He said some people disagree, but many have had positive comments.
"People have also said, hey yeah, you're right we have had train noise diminish and like the fact we had a no tax increase budget."
The mailer was paid for by "Vavricek for Mayor."
The campaign committee started the year with $852.83, according to online reports from the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.
Vavricek says he wrote a check for more than that to cover the mailing. Is it a sign he's running for this, or another office again?
"Time will tell, but obviously I enjoy public service and want to do the best job I can as mayor," he said.
This reporter called the mayor's cell phone as soon as the flyer came in the mail, and his voicemail box was already full.
Vavricek says he welcomes the input, saying he's trying to ramp up the public input as high as he can.
He cited 1,000 media interviews arranged through city hall in the last year, and a record number of city council meetings, as well as formation of the new Mayor's Advisory Committee.