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Bridgeport voters oust Mayor Lynn

Recall election still to be certified; five votes remain

— With only a handful of ballots left to count that won’t be enough to tip the scales, Mayor Marilynn Lynn will be recalled from office next week.

More votes rolling in from last Tuesday’s special election show a majority in favor of ousting Lynn from the office she won in November 2011.

“Whoop de doo, whoop de doo, whoop de doo, whoop de doo,” resident Michael Knox cheered Monday upon hearing the latest tally.

As of Friday night, the vote is 121-102, with one blank ballot submitted, according to the Douglas County Auditor’s Office. Only five ballots remain to be counted.

“It looks like the folks in town have spoken,” he said. “By golly, the people in town finally came to realize that they didn’t want this mayor to be representative of them.”

Voter turnout is about 51 percent, with 225 of 441 ballots counted. The remaining five ballots to count, will be tallied when the results are certified June 17.

Lynn could choose to appeal the vote, but whether she will is unknown. She did not return requests for comment.

If Lynn is recalled, Mayor Pro Tempore Janet Conklin will temporarily take over until the City Council appoints a new mayor. That process could take up to 90 days, at which time Douglas County commissioners may make an appointment if the council doesn’t act.

Conklin said she doesn’t wish to comment on the recall until election results are certified, but noted that the first votes counted June 3 signaled a “sad day for Bridgeport.”

Conklin, fellow council members Matthew Schuh and Jackie Hentges, along with former member Neil Jacobson, passed a resolution for a vote of no confidence against Lynn in late February and requested her resignation.

Lynn did not sign the resolution Schuh introduced, noting that he, Conklin and Jacobson violated the state Open Public Meetings Act when he contacted them separately outside of a public meeting to get their opinions on the resolution.

Later, Lynn told The Chronicle she would not resign, but would continue her duties and let the voters have their say.

The special election ballot was created after Knox filed a slew of complaints in January against Lynn in Douglas County Superior Court. In a Feb. 4 court hearing, he had to prove Lynn committed malfeasance or misfeasance while in office.

Judge John Hotchkiss found sufficient legal basis for one of the 14 complaints initially filed – that Lynn may have hired someone to work in City Hall against the council’s wishes.

Lynn has maintained that the council knew she re-hired Eugenia Dominguez on a temporary contract basis. In her motion for reconsideration, she provided proof that the council had signed off on vouchers to pay Dominguez for her time, but she was not receiving benefits.

Hotchkiss denied Lynn’s appeal, stating that she should have provided that information sooner. He wrote that she was “splitting hairs” in hiring Dominguez as a contractor rather than a full employee.

Conklin argued that the council didn’t know Dominguez had been re-hired, and immediately ordered Lynn to terminate the agreement. Conklin said the council was advised by the city attorney to pay the vouchers despite their disagreement.

“The effort to recall the mayor, from its start in January, has been about one issue. That issue is that everyone is responsible for their actions,” Knox said. “By a majority vote, the voting public who put Mayor Lynn into office have spoken and clearly announced their decision to hold her accountable for her actions.

“This now gives the city of Bridgeport an opportunity to heal - to experience a ‘do over’ – to move on into the future.”

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