GI Man Takes First Step Toward Recalling Mayor

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

The Hall County Election office says an affidavit was filed Friday morning to start a petition for a recall election of Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek.

Two pieces of paper - that's what it's taken for a lifelong Grand Island resident to start that process.

Jeb Wolsleben needs just 3,286 valid signatures to set a recall election, and he thinks he can do it.

"After the way everything has gone down, I think it's just an absolute quagmire, and I think the city just needs to move forward with somebody else," says Wolsleben.

Wolsleben says the resignation, yet continued employment of City Administrator Mary Lou Brown was the tipping point for him.

Vavricek asked Brown to resign in late June, but her resignation isn't effective until the end of September.

The city was set to appoint an interim at the last council meeting, but Council Member Larry Carney says it was taken off the agenda as the mayor expressed his desire to keep Brown on as administrator, not as a budget consultant as was previously stated to 10/11 by City Attorney Robert Sivick.

"We were to pass on that last Tuesday, but it was taken off the agenda and wisely so because we would have ended up with two city administrators," says Carney.

Carney says the administrator issues come as the city has had problems with privatizing the waste water treatment plant and hiring a new fire chief. He says he thinks community support is dwindling.

"I wasn't surprised, I knew that there was a lot of talk about that out there in the community, there were others poised to do the same thing, they just hadn't done it yet," says Carney of the recall affidavit.

Carney says it's become clear to him that Vavricek is unwilling to work with the council on many issues.

"Certainly the support of the mayor is waning quickly from the standpoint of judgment - is he really capable of governing this city in a manner that promotes the best interest of the city?" says Carney.

Wolsleben says even if the recall fails at some point, he still hopes to make a change.

"I would I guess assume that he would have to acknowledge the fact that he has to do things differently because business as usual will no longer work," he says.

Message were left at city hall for Vavricek, but he did not contact us to make a comment on Friday.

The Hall County Election office says they have several days to officially notify him of the filing. Once that happens Vavricek has 20 days to write a 60 words or less defense statement that can appear on the petitions, but it is not required.

After the petitions have been issued, Wolsleben has 30 days to gather enough signatures.

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