NELIGH — Two Antelope County Commissioners will likely face a recall election after petition circulators submitted notarized forms to the Antelope County clerk on Tuesday morning.
Bethany Miller of Elgin and Jack Allemang of Clearwater presented petitions for the recall of District 5 commissioner Tom Borer of rural Clearwater, and District 3 commissioner Allan Bentley of Neligh.
Petition circulators needed to collect 135 signatures to recall Bentley, while 203 needed to be gathered to recall Borer.
Those numbers represent 35% of ballots cast for each candidate during the November 2018 general election.
Recall affidavits were filed July 5. Borer and Bentley had 20 days to respond to allegations in the original petitions.
Miller’s paperwork alleges mismanagement of county funds, including money spent on an outside attorney after a Nebraska State Patrol investigation and misappropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including “poorly timed projects.”
Borer denied the allegations in a statement filed July 31.
“All allegations against me are false, brought about by people with questionable motives. One commissioner cannot make policy or other decisions alone. There is discussion on topics and majority vote rules. The chairman is responsible for running orderly meetings and following the open meeting laws, all elected officials need to follow this law,” Borer wrote.
Allemang’s affidavit included the same list of reasons listed in Borer’s affidavit, in addition to “sending residents texts with false information and blaming those messages on alcohol consumption.”
Bentley responded, “All allegations against me are false. No single commissioner makes any policy or financial decision, must always be majority vote. Investigation uncovered several thefts by county official; actually saved county thousands in back wages. This recall appears to be an attempt to undo recent election results, so by law, three people: county clerk, treasurer and attorney can hand pick new commissioners.”
Antelope County Clerk Lisa Payne and her staff will have 15 days to verify the signatures.
If one or both officials are recalled, the vacancy will be advertised, with candidates interviewed and appointed by a three-member committee — county attorney Joe Abler, county treasurer Deb Branstiter and Payne, as provided by Nebraska statute when less than half of a governing body is recalled.