By Signal Staff
On Wednesday of last week, a recall petition/affidavit was filed against Geneva Mayor Eric Kamler. Kamler was elected mayor in November of last year and was sworn into office on December 3, 2018.
Geneva businessman and farmer Steve Ewalt filed the petition with the Fillmore County Clerk’s office as the principal circulator. In the affidavit, Ewalt stated the reason for the recall is “Financially, Socially, Ethically, irresponsible to the citizens of Geneva.”
Now that the petition has been filed, the clerk’s office will give Kamler official notification of the recall effort and he will be given 20 days in which to provide a 60-word or less defense statement. This defense statement will then be included on the petitions when they are being circulated. After the 20-day deadline arrives, the clerk’s office will draft the petitions (25 were requested on the affidavit) and the petitions will be provided to Ewalt, the principal circulator.
From there, a total of 331 valid signatures from registered voters living inside the Geneva City Limits must be obtained within 30 days of picking up the petitions to force a recall election. This number represents 35 percent of the total votes cast in the November 6, 2018, General Election for Geneva Mayor—Kamler, 542; Rod Renken, 403; write-in, 2. Once this 30-day time frame has expired (or the required number of signatures are obtained and turned in), the clerk’s office is allowed 15 days to examine the petitions in order to officially certify if the minimum number of valid signatures were obtained. If the 331 signatures are obtained, Kamler will be contacted by the clerk’s office and will have five days to decide to resign or not.
If the mayor opts not to resign, the clerk’s office will schedule a special election, most likely an all-mail election, between 30 and 75 days after the elected official has been notified that sufficient signatures have been obtained and has opted not to resign. If he matter goes to a vote, voters will be asked if the mayor should be recalled. The majority will decide the question.
If the majority of voters would say yes, he should be recalled, the mayoral seat would be vacated and it would be up to the Geneva City Council to appoint a new mayor. In the recent successful recall of York Mayor Orval Stahr, for instance, the city council president became the city’s new mayor and the city council solicited applications for his vacated council seat. Nebraska State Statutes 32-1301 through 32-1309 deal with recall procedures.
The Nebraska Signal will continue to cover this story as it moves along. Also, this paper anticipates receiving Letters to the Editor on this subject. Letter writers need to have local ties to the community and be signed by individuals. These will be published as they come in on a timely matter. There will be a deadline at a later date to coincide with the special election if it takes place.