Three councilmembers no longer face recall

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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The recall effort to unseat three of Lincoln’s City Councilmembers came to a stop Thursday night. Lincoln resident Bob Birdseye e-mailed City Clerk Pat Avila at 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, withdrawing the notices of intent to recall Mayor Paul Joiner and City Councilmen Tom Cosgrove and Spencer Short. “As of that writing, I have accepted the e-mail to formally withdraw the notices of intent to recall councilmembers Joiner, Short and Cosgrove, and consider the matter void,” Avila said by e-mail. Joiner, Cosgrove and Short were served during the March 8 City Council meeting with those notices of intent to recall by Birdseye. Birdseye was given the okay from Avila on May 25 to start gathering signed petitions from 4,775 registered Lincoln voters to recall the councilmen. Sept. 22 was the day 4,775 signatures were to be turned in for each councilman, according to previous News Messenger reports. Birdseye told The News Messenger the decision to withdraw the notices of intent to recall the three on Thursday afternoon. “We decided on the basis of the number of signatures we had received and other issues going on in the city of Lincoln, we feel it would cause more harm than good,” Birdseye said. The News Messenger asked Birdseye for a breakdown of the signatures per councilmember, but Birdseye did not provide those numbers by press time. In his e-mail to Avila, Birdseye cited the recent tanker fire and public services strike as “recent events” that helped the recall committee decide to pull the plug on the recall. Birdseye told The News Messenger that recall proponents were not able to collect the number of signatures needed by Thursday. The collection of signatures went well in the beginning when the recall committee had enough people to collect the signatures, according to Birdseye. “When people started tailing off toward the end, it was difficult for the number of people to get the remaining signatures,” Birdseye said. Cosgrove said on Sept. 23 he was “glad it’s (the recall effort) passed.” “It’s unfortunate it had to happen at all, it really cast a (negative) cloud over the community,” Cosgrove said. “On the positive side, the three of us continue to do our work as councilmembers.” The News Messenger also asked Short for his response to the fact that a recall election will not occur. “This was the outcome that was expected because the recall itself was based on questionable facts,” Short said. “I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t go ahead and turn in the signatures to give the people that do have issues a voice.”