Longtime G.I. Council Member Won't Seek Re-election - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Update: Longtime G.I. Council Member Won't Seek Re-election

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A long-time Grand Island council member said Monday she won't seek re-election.

Peg Gilbert was appointed by Mayor Jay Vavricek back in 2003 and has been elected to serve Ward 2 twice since then.

"It adds a lot of stress to your life that is actually needless and it impacts your family," she said. "It is time to pull back from that and make that go away."

Gilbert said she is about to become a grandma and wants to put family first.

"I've enjoyed working with her and she's a great resource," said G.I. Council President Chuck Haase.

Of current council members, only Mitch Nickerson has served longer, but Gilbert said losing that experience isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"We need to start over with the leadership in the community of Grand Island and that's one of the reasons I'm backing off," she said. "I think we need to turn over that leaf in every aspect of office."

Haase, who is running for mayor, said he agrees that turnover is good.

"I think that the council needs to keep regenerating itself. I think it's a good thing to continue to have fresh ideas," he said.

So far, no non-incumbents have filed. Gilbert points to recent drama at city hall.

"It has added to the stress, added to the time and I think the attitude of people and their concern about running," she said.

"I hope it doesn't. Having a discussion or having a debate about issues is a good thing," said Haase.

An average of eight to ten hours of work and, lately, a whole lot of scrutiny seem to accompany a Grand Island City Council spot.

Still, both Haase and Gilbert are encouraging others to file, saying there are benefits beyond the $7,200 annual pay.

"Out of my 11-plus years there were many years of it that I wouldn't have traded it for anything," said Gilbert. "I'm really honored that the people of Grand Island gave me this opportunity."

Haase said he knows there are qualified candidates out there, referencing the nine people that applied to a vacant Ward 2 position earlier this year.

He expects non-incumbents will begin applying after Tuesday's incumbent deadline.

Non-incumbents have until March 3 to file.

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