Mayor Jay Vavricek's announcement Friday night that he has asked for the withdrawal of interim city administrator Mary Lou Brown's resignation is sending waves through the community. It's also causing people to further doubt his abilities as mayor.
The decision comes just a little more than a week before September 30, the day Brown's resignation was supposed to go into effect. Several city council members say the mayor's decision was both shocking and frustrating.
"The council has already expressed their opinion to the mayor, about Mary Lou's return, and it was overwhelmingly "no." But he turned around and did what he wanted to do, probably what he intended to do no matter what we said," says Ward 4 councilman Larry Carney. "What we've really seen here is the deterioration in the relationship between the council and the mayor."
Ward 2 councilman Scott Dugan told 10/11 News over the phone that he is "very disappointed in his decision. It further highlights his erratic decision-making and it is doing a disservice to the city and its employees. He is making unilateral decisions."
They say it's not only an affront to the city council, but also to the people of Grand Island.
"It causes a lot of stress in city employees. I think it's going to cause some stress on city council, it's difficult to work under those conditions both for her and for the council people," says Ward 5 councilman John Gericke.
Some are also calling it a tipping point in the mayoral recall campaign. Recall organizer Jeb Wolsleben says he's gotten more than 250 signatures in the 24 hours since the mayor made his announcement.
"Enough's enough is kind of the sentiment that I've been getting," says Wolsleben.
Whether this decision will eventually lead to the mayor's recall or not,
"we could be spending our time doing some things more constructive," says Carney.
Mayor Vavricek said Friday night that it wasn't fair to ask for Brown's resignation without knowing the outcome of the recall campaign against him. The recall petition currently has approximately 1200 signatures out of the 3286 needed.