No action taken on petition

Bob Birdseye said notice of intent to recall next
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
-A +A
No action was taken Tuesday by Lincoln City Council on resident Bob Birdseye’s request for the dismissal of the city manager and assistant city manager. During the Jan. 25 council meeting, Birdseye told the council they had until Feb. 8 to terminate City Manager Jim Estep and Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Anna Jatczak or the end result would be a recall of Mayor Paul Joiner and council members Spencer Short and Tom Cosgrove. Birdseye presented the council with a petition with 111 signatures that night, and has since collected more than 200. “Based on the agenda for this evening’s meeting and no mention of the issue in The Lincoln News Messenger or by the city of Lincoln’s public information officer, it appears that you do not intend to act on the petition,” Birdseye said Tuesday. Birdseye noted that a performance review was scheduled for Estep the following day. “Unless a dismissal occurs as a result of your meeting tomorrow, the next step in the process will begin with the actions necessary to recall Mr. Joiner, Cosgrove and Short,” Birdseye said. Birdseye said he was willing to “meet face to face” with the council prior to them receiving the notice of intent for a recall. He said the notice of intent may not be delivered to the council until Feb. 22. “Of course, it’s going to cost the city but it’s costing the city paying the city manager and assistant city manager over $500,000 a year in salary and benefits,” Birdseye said Feb. 4. “You can save a lot of money by getting rid of Jim and Anna.” During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Birdseye said, “I would also like to caution City Council members from taking actions to intimidate or harass residents or business owners who sign or post the petition or the notice of intent to recall.” During the council initiated business portion of Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Stan Nader said Short asked him to “repudiate the recall,” which he did. “Because of my past experience of what happens with a community, with a recall it is very divisive and hurts for a long time,” Nader said. “I don’t want to foster or encourage that. I want to encourage team work. I’m going to be working diligently with staff and the City Council to achieve positivity for our community.” In 1994,Nader was recalled with three other council members when he was on City Council. Nader told The News Messenger that Short asked him last week to repudiate the recall because “it was felt” Nader “needed to show I was a team player by not asking for the recall.” “He (Short) wanted me to make it crystal clear by saying it at a meeting,” Nader said. Councilman Tom Cosgrove voiced his opinion about a potential recall during Tuesday’s meeting. “I don’t support the recall either,” Cosgrove said. “I’ve been there, too, and it was very harmful to the community, and it lasted a long time. There are still people who do not talk to each other as a part of it.” Cosgrove also expressed concern that businesses may choose not to come to Lincoln “because of the turmoil.” The News Messenger asked Short and Councilman Gabriel Hydrick for their comment on the recall on Monday. “As I stated, I will continue to do the job entrusted to me by a majority of citizens in this community. I will not speculate on a recall,” Short said. “I do not believe there is a valid basis for a recall in this situation. However, I have always and will always respect the will of the electorate via a valid election.” Hydrick said he has asked that Birdseye “stay his decision to move forward with a recall for a little while longer.” “It is my hope that, as a council, a resolution to right-size and right-price Lincoln could be found before a recall went into effect,” Hydrick said. “This is our duty as stewards and representatives of our community.” Joiner did not provide a comment regarding his thoughts about the potential recall by press time. Stephanie Dumm can be reached at