Dale Palser and Steve Belitz recall, Central City Public Schools, Nebraska (2013)

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An effort to recall Dale Palser and Steve Belitz from their respective positions as president and secretary of the Board of Education of Central City Public Schools, Nebraska was launched in June 2013. The effort to qualify the recall question for the ballot was, however, abandoned short of going to a vote. Recall organizers failed to submit the proper paperwork when turning in petition signatures; further attempts were not legally possible at the time.[1]


The recall effort against Palser and Belitz began in June 2013 when a group called "Time for Change, Time to Move Forward" filed a petition with Merrick County Clerk. Reports indicated that the firing of Central City Public Schools football coach Darin Garfield in April 2013 was the source of anger that led to the effort. However, recall organizers say the efforts are not meant to be retaliation for the firing, but rather meant to put "a spotlight on a system that has been counterproductive to the best interests of the students and staff of Central City Public Schools for some time."[2][3][4]

Recall supporters also initiated a recall effort against board member Kent Malm.[5]

Reasons for recall

The petition being circulated specifically stated:[3]

School board members are entrusted to ensure schools' responsiveness to community values, beliefs and priorities. We believe that recall of [Palser and Belitz] is warranted due to lack of responsiveness to concerns raised by public and staff, lack of oversight and failure to require accountability from administrators, failure to provide leadership to improve our school.[6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in Nebraska

On August 16, the signature submission deadline, recall supporters attempted to turn in over 500 signatures. However, Merrick County Clerk Marcia Wichman rejected the signatures because recall supporters had failed to state on each petition page whether petition gatherers were volunteers or paid gathers. Further attempts to recall Palser and Belitz also became impossible because the two men were scheduled for regular election in 2014 and local recall laws state elected officials cannot be subject to recall in the last six months of their term.[1][5]

Recall supporters needed to have collect 449 signatures to trigger a recall election.[3]

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