GI Council Faces "Legal Threat" Over Proposed Vavricek Ouster
By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Have they created a monster? Grand Island city council members say an attempted ouster of Mayor Jay Vavricek has gotten ugly, and now they may be second guessing that effort.
The city council president said "there have been other developments." Bob Niemann said council members fear they'll face legal action.
Meanwhile the lawyer for the city makes it clear he's he doesn't want to be the man in the middle.
"It's a clear conflict of interest," City Attorney Bob Sivick explained.
He argues there isn't any other way to look at it. He's the odd man out with his bosses on the city council sitting in judgment against his other boss the mayor.
"And to avoid any appearance of impropriety or any allegation that something was not done properly or someone had ulterior motives, I've decided to step aside as I'm permitted to do," Sivick said.
Enter Greg Abboud, a respected Omaha-area attorney whose best qualification may be his distance from the mess at Grand Island City Hall, where council members say the mayor has committed misconduct.
Sivick said, "This is a very sensitive matter. I wanted to have someone who would not be affected by any of the players or what has happened to simply come in here to town, do their job, and to leave after they've completed the job."
It would be a public meeting, but not a circus where anyone could speak, officials say.
The lawyer for the council and the mayor's lawyer would each be able to call witnesses and present evidence.
Sivick said, "Obviously due process is important, so it will be a trial like process."
But that's only if the city council decides to go forward with it.
After a weekend to think about it, some were second guessing the decision to file misconduct charges against Jay Vavricek, stemming from his recent drunk driving arrest. Despite having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, he was charged with reckless driving, not DUI as part of a plea agreement.
Niemann, the council president says he's worried they've created "a monster" by their decision to go forward with this process.
He says council members have been personally threatened with legal action, but he declined to elaborate.
He reiterated what he previously told NTV.
"The outcome could be real ugly," Niemann said last month.
NTV talked with a couple of city council members. No one wanted to elaborate on what legal action they might be facing.