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3 of 5 members resign from Elmwood board One who quit calls the Village Board culture toxic; special election is Dec. 12

Omaha World-Herald - 10/25/2017

Voters in Elmwood, Nebraska, will have the opportunity to elect three new members to the Village Board, replacing three who resigned last week in protest of what one said was a toxic culture on the board.

Secretary of State John Gale called Monday for the special election. Interested candidates, who must be registered voters in Elmwood, have until Nov. 9 to file for office with the Cass County Election Office. The election will take place Dec. 12.

The three who resigned are Brody Baer, Jack Hovick and Mike Kress.

In a resignation letter dated Wednesday, Hovick cited a toxic climate and culture on the five-member board. He said shortcuts in procedures by the board have failed to protect taxpayers. He cited a park renovation project and others. Hovick also alleged violations of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act.

In an interview, Kress agreed with Hovick's characterization of the board's workings and said he resigned to bring attention to the situation.

"When you ask a question, you get shot down,'' he said. "I don't know why we (board members) are there. It's sad."

Board Chairwoman Pat Wray did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The other remaining board member is Julie Anderson.

State law gives the secretary of state authority to call for a special election if half or more of the seats are vacated on a city council or village board.

The election will involve two separate races. One will include the selection of two board members whose terms will expire in December 2018. The second is for a third member whose seat will expire in December 2020.

If no one files for office in either of those races, the election will be determined by write-in votes. Candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in both races will be elected to the board. The election will be held either at the polls or by mail.

Elmwood, a community of 634, is about 35 miles south of southwest Omaha.

david.hendee@owh.com, 402-444-1127


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