Possible Cost to Recall Suttle: $900,000

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September 10, 2010


Omaha, Nebraska: Forget what you may have heard about a recall of Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle] costing around $300,000, that’s just for openers.

Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps tells [Nebraska Watchdog] it’s very possible that when all is said and done, Omaha taxpayers will have shelled out between $750,000 and $900,000. According to Phipps, “Nothing to help the budget there.”

Here’s why the price has gone up. An Omaha city election costs an estimated $250,000 to $300,000. But if voters throw Suttle out of office, it’s very likely that two more elections, each also costing between $250,000 and $300,000, will be needed to choose Suttle’s successor.

According to changes in the Omaha City Charter, made after Mayor [Mike Boyle] was recalled in 1987 and Mayor [PJ Morgan] unexpectedly resigned in 1994, a special election is required if the Mayor’s office is vacated more than two years before the next regular city election (in Suttle’s case that’s May of 2013). In addition if no one running in the special election receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters face each other in a runoff election. Leaving taxpayers an itemized bill that looks like this:

Recall Election: $250,000-$300,000

Special Election: $250,000-$300,000

Runoff Election: $250,000-$300,000

Total: $750,000-$900,000.

City Councilman Ben Gray who opposes a Suttle recall, has no idea where the money would come from. According to Gray the cash strapped City “can’t afford one election, let alone three.”

Of course it is possible to recall Suttle and avoid the other two elections. But that would require holding off on a recall until next spring. So far no one involved in the[1] has indicated any desire to wait.[2]