NELIGH — The fate of two Antelope County commissioners will be determined Oct. 15.
Commissioners held an emergency meeting Friday to establish the date for the recall election of Tom Borer and Allan Bentley The election date was approved on a 4-0 vote.
Bentley was absent from Friday’s meeting, which took place one day after commissioners held a special session to discuss preliminary budgets.
While Friday’s meeting took less than three minutes, Thursday’s meeting, at times, took a contentious tone.
Setting the date for a special recall election was added to Thursday’s meeting agenda by Antelope County Clerk Lisa Payne.
Borer, who serves as chairman, called for a motion to remove the agenda item. Commissioner Dean Smith made the motion, and Borer offered a second.
He noted the board cannot call for an election until five days after those who are subject to a recall election are notified, allowing them time to resign, per the Nebraska Association of County Officials’ handbook.
According to Payne, Borer and Bentley were notified that petition signatures were verified on Monday, Aug. 19.
Bentley asked if the election could be set at the group’s Sept. 3 meeting, but Payne advised that would be too late.
Per Nebraska Revised Statute 32-1306, the election date would need to be established not less than 35 nor more than 75 days after the notification of the official whose removal is sought.
Commissioners voted 3-2 to remove the election topic from the agenda, with commissioners Charlie Henery and Eli Jacob voting against the motion.
In a phone interview, Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler said he advised commissioners Thursday that county officials are bound to comply with election statutes.
“They did not have a clear understanding of the time constraints,” Abler said.
The affidavit against Borer was filed by Bethany Miller of Elgin, while Jack Allemang, Clearwater, submitted paperwork for the recall of Bentley on July 8.
Both petitions allege mismanagement of county funds, including money spent on an outside attorney after a Nebraska State Patrol investigation and misappropriate use of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including “poorly time objects.”
Allemang’s affidavit also included “sending residents texts with false information and blaming those messages on alcohol consumption.”
On Aug. 13, petition circulators submitted notarized forms to the Antelope County clerk.
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.