Affidavits filed in effort to recall Lincoln Mayor, four council members

Affidavits filed in effort to recall Lincoln Mayor, four council members
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 3:31 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Multiple affidavits have been filed with the Lancaster County Election Commissioner in an attempt to recall the Lincoln mayor and the four district city council members.

The group LNK recall is behind the effort to recall the multiple city officials. The group describes themselves as a “non-partisan, grassroots movement led by Lincoln business owners and citizens.”

Lancaster County Election Commissioner Dave Shively will notify the elected officials of the recall and then they have 20 days to respond with a defense statement.

After the Election Office receives their defense statements, Shively will have five days to prepare the petitions.

“The goal of the recall is to hold our leaders accountable for ethical, transparent, and cooperative leadership that listens to the citizens of Lincoln,” said one spokesperson for the recall group.

To move forward, the petitions would need the following number of signatures:

  • Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird 21,652
  • NE District 1 James Michael Bowers 4,864
  • SE District 2 Richard Meginnis 8,009
  • SW District 3 Jane Raybould 5,362
  • NW District 4 Tammy Ward 2,495

These numbers represent 35 percent of the total votes cast for that office in the last general election.

At a press conference on Monday night, the group pointed to an August 17th meeting as a reason.

“The city council suspends their rules to silence the voices in Lincoln, they’ve dropped the veil of even pretending to listen,” said LNK Recall Samuel Lyon.

At that meeting, the city council appointed Pat Lopez as the Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and voted to fast track the approval, rather than wait the typical two weeks to allow public comment and a final vote.

“Wait one week to have other people input. Here are 243 other signatures of people who would like to speak with you.. and they said, ‘too bad let’s move on,’ and that’s why their name is on the list,” said Lyon.

The city says the mayor and the council have the authority to suspend rules in special circumstances.

“Mayor Baird exploited the very loose language of the emergency powers and communicable disease management provisions in our laws to define a pandemic into existence in Lincoln and Lancaster County,” said Robert Borer.

"Mayor Baird sought out and obtained open ended authoritarian control and used it to attack our liberty, usurp legislative authority, silence our voices, misuse our police, destroy our small businesses, sow discord in our community and allowed vandalism in our city.

On August 17th, Mayor Baird asked City Council to suspend city charter rules in order to immediately inform Pat Lopez as health director. Many citizens testified warning of the danger of suspending rules. [The city council members] ignored them and voted to suspend councils own rules anyway, canceling the remaining required hearing to vote immediately, silencing the vote of Lincoln citizens."

LNK Recall statement on Recall Petition Form

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird released a statement on the recall:

“I am focused every minute on doing the job that the people of Lincoln elected me to do. Right now, that includes working with the City Council and our Health Department to lead the city through an unprecedented global pandemic. I am not going to be distracted by a small group of people who want to divide our community.”

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird

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