Grand Island Mayor Files Statement in Recall Drive

By: Kim Eiten Email
By: Kim Eiten Email

Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek has filed a defense statement in a petition drive seeking his recall.

Vavricek filed his statement last Friday, which means the process can continue.

A former City Council candidate, Jeb Wolsleben, is leading the effort to oust Vavricek, citing in part the mayor's decision to bring back the former city administrator and ignoring the council's wishes.

The effort to recall Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek is moving forward.

Now, it's time to print the petitions.

The Election Commissioner's office has twenty days to print the mayor's words on to of the recall sheets. It's a statement he issued to defend his years in public service.

"Proud and thankful to serve you," Vavricek wrote as part of his message to the city, outlined in just 60 words.

"I've worked very hard. I think my record would show in terms of lowering taxes, strengthening public safety, attracting more jobs, being responsive, putting the time and effort into this job," he said.

Keeping that job now means facing a possible recall election.

"You go ahead and deal with it and you cope with it and make a decision and move on," Vavricek said.

But the man who initiated the recall, Grand Island resident Jeb Wolsleben, has no intention of slowing down.

Now that the mayor's defense statement is in, Wolsleben will have petitions in hand in just 20 days.

"From there it's full steam ahead towards collecting the signatures to force a recall election," Wolsleben said.

He said the mayor's statement, the last piece needed to send the petitions to print, missed the point.

"He didn't address any of the issues that forced the recall election, and I think it's basically a waste of 60 words," Wosleben said.

One of those issues is the employment status of City Administrator Mary Lou Brown, but Mayor Vavricek said this recall comes down to much more than one job.

"The recall has comprimised a great deal, more than just the city administrator," he said. "When you look at the mayor's position, when you look at who should be mayor should a recall election occur, all those things are now up in the air."

If Wolsleben collects the more than 3,000 signatures needed to initiate a recall, the mayor will have two choices: go forward with the recall election or resign.

He said one is not an option.

"That commitment is there from today going forward," Vavricek said. "So, regardless of the challenges, as long as my family is there and support and encouragement of people, I'm going to be there all the way and look forward to continuing my service so we can continue to move Grand Island positively into the future."

Wosleben hopes otherwise.

"It is my hope that he does not retain his seat, that he is voted out of city government," Wolsleben.

The Election Commissioner's office said those petitions will be ready to go September 17th.

From there, Wolsleben said he will be creating a schedule a collect signatures. He will then have 30 days to collect nearly 3,300 signatures -- or 35 percent -- of Grand Island voters.

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