Council members served

Birdseye gives intent to recall to 3 incumbents
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Lincoln resident Bob Birdseye made the first step in the process to recall City Councilmen Tom Cosgrove, Paul Joiner and Spencer Short during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “I am fed up and I am not alone in this recall process. Joiner, Cosgrove, Short, (City Manager Jim) Estep and (Assistant City Manager Anna) Jatczak act like they’re not accountable to anyone, like they can just cover stuff up and get away with it,” Birdseye said during the meeting. “As a Lincoln business owner stated to me recently, Joiner, Cosgrove and Short act like they own this city. Well, the people of Lincoln own this city.” The reason cited by Birdseye cited for the recall was that the three councilmen placed Measure K on the November ballot after “they never revealed that a $3 million misallocation of losses to the General Fund of which they were aware of as early as late June or early July of 2010 made the General Fund deficit appear greater than it was.” After addressing the council, Birdseye handed Joiner, Cosgrove and Short individual notices of intent to recall. The three councilmen did not comment during the meeting. Cosgrove and Short declined to comment. The News Messenger asked Joiner on Wednesday if he felt he deserved to be recalled and if he will fight for his position on the council. "I in no way feel that I deserve to be recalled and I will most certainly fight to hold my position on the council," Joiner said. Birdseye gave the notices during the public comment portion of the meeting. A handful of residents gave their opinions on the recall before and after Birdseye spoke. “I think the recall is good and I’m going to vote for it,” Wes Ritchie said. “My thing is, everyone has an opinion. Whoever wins the recall, then their opinion was well taken. I hope to see three of you gone, three of you and two more over there.” Ritchie was referring to the three councilmen and Estep and Jatczak. Resident Fred Gibbs said, out of his nine neighbors, “not one wants a recall.” “I don’t think that Tom (Cosgrove) and the rest of you people have deliberately short changed people in the city or tried to hide anything,” Gibbs said. “When I hear this recall situation, who is going to put up the money? You are talking about (spending) $70,000 for a consultant. Do we give it to the consultant or to the county for a recall? Do we give it to the library to stay open or for the recall?” Newcastle resident Jim Macauley pointed out that a recall could have been avoided if the city had answered 15 questions he gave them about city finances last March. “Had you, on March 23, answered the 15 questions, you would have cut me off at the knees. I would have never gotten involved with Team Lincoln, the city would have embraced you and Measure K would have passed. You chose a different path and made it hard for us to find and get information,” Macauley said. “You folks still don’t appreciate, acknowledge or accept the fact that you work for the citizens. I’m sorry that you didn’t and that you are now facing a recall.” Resident Dori Akin pointed out that the school district has taken four furlough days to save the jobs of teachers and that she’d “like to see some leadership in the city.” After Akin’s comment, Joiner asked Estep if he would like to address closed session discussions about reducing Estep’s salary. “It is difficult to sit here and listen, I will step forward and say a few words. Yes, that’s great that the school district is taking four furlough days. Our employees did take 12 and that started at the top,” Estep said. “The other thing is, the truth of the matter is that I’ve been working with the council for quite some time on a salary reduction and it’s much more significant than what anyone in the city has ever taken within the city. I brought that forward on my own; it was not requested that I take that forward.”