Motion Fails: Vavricek Will Not Face Misconduct Trial
The Grand Island City Council's motion to proceed with misconduct charges against Mayor Jay Vavricek failed on a 3-4 vote Tuesday.
Council members John Gericke, Julie Hehnke, and Mike Paulick voted to go forward with the charge against the mayor.
Council President Niemann abstained. He also excused himself from the hearing, as he would be next in line if the mayor were to leave office. Councilman Chuck Haase was absent.
Nearly two dozen supporters spoke in favor of Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek keeping his job, arguing a legal hearing on charges of misconduct would be detrimental to Grand Island. But others insist action needs to be taken to change the course at city hall.
Former Mayors Ken Gnadt and Margaret Hornady warned the city council not to go forward with the process.
Several of Vavricek's friends and business associates also spoke on his behalf. Max and Libby Mader said they were at the horse races with Vavricek the day of his arrest on suspicion of drunk driving.
Mrs. Mader says Vavricek had a couple of drinks, but was not intoxicated. Mr. Mader said Vavricek "unfortunately" got caught for something he suggested everyone has done.
Councilman Scott Dugan said it's foolish to say everyone drinks and drives. He urged everyone to focus on the issues at hand.
The mayor's wife, Jan Vavricek received a standing ovation from the crowd. She said rumors that the Vavriceks' marriage is over are untrue, and said the reason her husband stumbles is because of a bad hip.
Resident Grady Erickson said people were confusing a good man with his poor leadership, and said Vavricek was setting a bad example to the community. He said there's a record of poor decisions and urged the council to vote to move forward with a legal hearing against the mayor.
In the end, the council was split, but failed to come up with enough votes to go forward with a trial-like hearing. Council members questioned if Vavricek's drunk driving arrest qualified as misconduct in office. Minton said this was the wrong process. Councilwoman Linna Dee Donaldson said she asked Vavricek to resign, but he chose not to.
Councilwoman Peg Gilbert, the former council president said Vavricek needed "to work on his problems and get healthy, mentally and physically."
She said it was unfortunate the council had to issue a public reprimand last year, but felt it got Vavricek's attention and things began to change. She hopes this too can be a turning point towards the future.
Vavricek continued with routine business once the decision was reached. He said he has regrets but wants to move forward.
Stay with NTV for more on this developing story.