Jay Vavricek recall, Grand Island, Nebraska (2012)
Reasons for recall
Jeb Wolsleben, a former city council candidate, filed the recall petition. The recall petition was filed one month after Vavricek asked for and received the resignation of City Administrator Mary Lou Brown. Brown was to continue working for the city through September 30, but only as a consultant working from home. Vavricek announced that he would bring Brown back to work at City Hall in her former office. Vavricek's decision to allow Brown to return to work at City Hall was the catalyst for recall. Vavricek was censured by the city council on August 3 for bringing Brown back to work. Vavricek has also been accused of failing to comply with state law in naming an interim fire chief and showing unprofessional behavior toward speakers at city council meetings.
Vavricek's statement on the recall
On September 21, Vavricek issued a two-page statement explaining his reasoning behind asking for Brown's resignation as City Administrator before asking her to withdraw her resignation. Vavricek wrote, "Applications for the administrator position closed on September 14. There were 26 applications of which 24 met the minimum educational requirements. Of those with municipal experience, there were very few who had served in a city of more than 10,000 in population." Vavricek has not released the 26 applications. Vavricek wrote, "Sometimes when you do too much, too fast you can make mistakes. While I hate to admit a mistake, I made one and I own up to it. While I made a decision and sought a resignation in June, it was the wrong decision. My decision to seek Brown's resignation was based on external factors and political outcries and I shouldn't have allowed that to affect a workplace decision."
City council members Chuck Haase, Larry Carney, Scott Dugan, Bob Niemann and John Gericke signed the recall petition.
Path to the ballot
Recall language was filed on July 27. Vavricek had until August 27 to file a 60-word defense statement. Hall County Election Commissioner Dale Baker said that petitions were prepared and ready for circulation on September 17. Recall organizers had until October 14 to gather 3,286 signatures. On October 12, recall organizers announced that they were 177 signatures short, and that they would not be turning the signatures in for verification.
November 1 was the deadline for signature certification, and if enough signatures had been verified, a recall election would have taken place between December 5, 2012, and January 15, 2013.
- The Independent, "Vavricek signs affidavit for mayoral recall effort," August 8, 2012
- The Independent, "Mayoral recall effort fails to gain required signatures," October 12, 2012
- Nebraska TV, "Recall Grows After Mayor Vavricek Brings Brown Back," September 24, 2012
- The Independent, "Recall petition organizer to be at parade," October 3, 2012
- The Independent, "Former city council candidate launches mayoral recall effort," July 27, 2012
- The Independent, "Recall petition to start Sept. 17," August 21, 2012
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