By Lynell Morgan
The recall petition for Antelope County Commissioner Allan Bentley (District 3) has been picked up and is expected to be circulating among that district’s voters for signatures in the near future if not already.
According to Antelope County Clerk Lisa Payne, the recall petition for Commissioner Tom Borer (District 5) is expected to be picked up from her office yet today.
Circulators of each petition will have thirty days to collect valid signatures, 134 for Bentley and 203 for Borer. Once the petitions are signed and notarized by the circulator, they are returned to the County Clerk, who has up to fifteen days for verification of the voter signatures.
Once the lists have been certified and are verified to contain a sufficient number of eligible signatures, a special election will be set. If not enough eligible signatures are not collected during the thirty days, the recall attempts fail. Payne told The Elgin Review that the election date would depend on timing.
“It will probably meet the November deadline, however, if the signatures are verified fairly early, it may qualify for an October election,” she said.
One of two things will happen then depending on the election outcome. Should both commissioners retain their office seats, business will continue on as usual until the next regular election.
Should one or both commissioners not survive the recall attempts, according to Payne, Nebraska state statute is specific as to the next actions to be taken. The county will advertise for the open position(s). The county’s clerk, treasurer and attorney will then conduct interviews of applicants and hire a new commissioner(s). The person(s) hired will serve in that position until the next regular election.
On July 8, 2019 Elgin resident Bethany Miller paperwork for the recall of Borer. Also on the 8th, Clearwater resident Jack Allemang did the same for Bentley. The Statement of Reason(s) For Recall on both read… “mismanagement of county funds, spending money on an outside attorney after a State Patrol Investigation, Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including poorly timed projects. Mistreatment of elected officials, including waging public wars, refusing to allow them to speak and making unethical comments towards other officials.”
Bentley’s response, included on the Recall Petition, reads “All allegations against me are false. No single commissioner makes any policy or financial decision, must always be majority vote. Investigation uncovered several thefts by county official; actually saved county thousands in back wages. This recall appears to be an attempt to undo recent election results, so by law 3 people: county clerk, treasurer and attorney can handpick new commissioners.”
Borer’s response, included on the Recall Petition, reads “All allegations against me are false, brought about by people with questionable motives. One commissioner cannot make financial, policy or other decisions alone. There is discussion on the topics and majority vote rules. The chairman is responsible for running orderly meetings and following the open meeting laws, all elected officials need to follow this law.”