PLATTSMOUTH – With the deadline looming, those supporting the recall of Plattsmouth Mayor Paul Lambert are still out gathering signatures with the hope of obtaining the required number needed, according to a recall spokesman.
“Some of the petition sheets are still out with other people getting signatures,” said Greg Hughes. “I have eight to 10 people helping to gather signatures.”
Time is running out, however, with the deadline to turn in the appropriate signatures being this Friday.
At the heart of the matter, according to Hughes, is how the city handled the removal of gravestone decorations and other mementos at Oak Hill Cemetery earlier this spring that brought out a large crowd expressing their anger at the April 15 City Council meeting.
Much of their anger was directed toward City Administrator Erv Portis, who admitted the removal was not communicated well.
At that meeting, it was also learned that the city’s Cemetery Board had not met for several years.
“People seem to have various issues when signing, including the cemetery, the mayor not understanding their issues or problems and lack of full and functioning boards/commissions,” Hughes said.
The group is actually seeking the removal of Portis, but since he is an appointed official, the only people who can remove him are the mayor and the City Council.
“The mayor has stated he supports Mr. Portis and his decisions, so we are seeking a recall of the mayor,” Hughes said when the recall effort began.
The group needs 538 signatures, or 35 percent of the votes cast for Lambert in the last election, according to the Cass County Election Office.
At last report, nearly half of that required number of signatures had been obtained, according to Hughes.
“What is more troubling is the people that want to sign but will not sign,” he said. “Whether they work for the city directly, contract with the city or just live/work in the city there seems to be a nervousness with the recall election petition becoming public and someone finding their name on a petition.”
The signatures must come from registered voters within the city limits of Plattsmouth, according to the election office.
If the required number of signatures is obtained and are officially verified by the office, then a special election will take place, the office said.