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Effort to recall mayor begins

Effort to recall mayor begins

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An effort to recall Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek is under way.

Jeb Wolsleben, a retail clerk and former city council candidate, filed a recall affidavit at 8:57 a.m. today with the Hall County election commissioner’s office.

"I feel the mayor has totally ignored the wishes of the city council of bringing Mary Lou Brown back. I feel he’s no longer fit to conduct the office of mayor of the city of Grand Island. The indecisiveness in a non-effective government is not the attention we want to project to attract new residents or companies to locate here," Wolsleben’s affidavit states.

Wolsleben ran unsuccessfully for the council’s 3rd Ward nomination in the May primary. However, his interest in city government remains strong.

When he learned of the mayor’s decision Thursday afternoon to return City Administrator Mary Lou Brown to office through Sept. 30, he was outraged.

"You have got to be kidding," Wolsleben posted online.

The mayor had asked Brown to resign on June 26, and she did so but was working in an advisory capacity out of her home until Sept. 30. The mayor’s action on Thursday changed that, and he instructed her to "resume her workforce presence" at City Hall on Friday.

City Clerk RaNae Edwards said the mayor will have 20 days to respond with a 60-word defense statement to be printed on Wolsleben’s petitions.

Once the petitions are presented to Wolsleben, he said, he will take them door to door and will solicit businesses to allow him to set up a table or collect signatures outside their doors.

"I think I can gather the signatures," Wolsleben said this morning.

Election Commissioner Dale Baker said previously that 3,286 signatures must be gathered in 30 days to force a recall election for the mayor. The number of signatures is 35 percent of the 9,387 votes cast in the last mayoral election — the November 2010 election when Vavricek won his second term as mayor by defeating challenger Councilman Bob Meyer.

If the recall petition is successful, the Grand Island City Council would have up to 75 days to conduct the election. It could be a special election, a mail election or could be posted on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

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