As of Thursday, May 15, 2014
BRIDGEPORT The city’s voters will decide June 3 whether to keep Mayor Marilynn Lynn or oust her from office.
Despite facing a recall election that will cost the city an estimated $3,000 to $4,000, “I have no plans to resign,” Lynn said.
The Douglas County Auditor’s Office set the June special election date last Tuesday. Lynn and resident Michael Knox, who started the recall effort in January, were served an official notice at their homes that evening by a sheriff’s deputy, Knox said.
Election results will be certified June 17.
“She might survive it, you’ve got to admit that,” Knox said. “I’m just going to see if I can tough it out… Whether she wins or loses, it’s going to cost the city that money.”
Because the recall will be the only measure on the ballot, the city will have to foot the entire bill, according to the Auditor’s Office.
City Clerk Karen Brown said the City Council will likely have to decide how to pay for the unexpected expense.
“I don’t know if anybody plans to bring anything up about it,” Councilman Matthew Schuh said of tonight’s council meeting. The preliminary agenda released Friday did not include a discussion of the special election during the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1206 Columbia Ave.
In late February, Schuh led the council in a 4-1 vote approving a resolution that declared no confidence in the mayor and called for her resignation. Councilman Eric Schmidt cast the sole “nay” vote.
A vote of no confidence doesn’t have any weight under state law.
“If she hasn’t resigned at this point, I think she’s resolved to see it through to a vote of the people,” Schuh said, noting he wasn’t surprised to hear Knox was able to meet the signature quota.
Auditor Thad Duvall said he had spoken to Knox about waiting at least 25 more days before submitting his petition of signatures, to get the recall placed on the August primary ballot and save the city money.
Knox said he decided against it after some residents told him they wanted their voices to be heard as soon as possible and believed it was worth the money.
To create the special election ballot, Knox had to first show possible factual basis that the mayor committed malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, then circulate a petition to gather signatures from at least 35 percent of the residents who had voted in the last mayoral election in 2011, when Lynn defeated incumbent Bill Zweigle.
In late January, Knox submitted a list of 14 complaints against Lynn. After a Feb. 4 hearing, Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss found cause with one of those complaints – that Lynn allegedly hired someone to work in City Hall last year against the council’s wishes – to move forward with a petition.
Lynn filed a motion for reconsideration, but Hotchkiss denied it March 12.
Knox needed to gather 85 signatures within 180 days after Hotchkiss’ final decision. He collected 114 in less than two weeks.
The Auditor’s Office said there are 431 registered voters in Bridgeport.