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'A partisan vote': Stothert pushed back on city council vote on mayor's out-of-town powers

Mayor Stothert
Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 31, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha’s Mayor Jean Stothert said the city council took a partisan vote this week after the council refused to sign off on a measure that eventually would allow the mayor to remain in power when they’re out of town.

The Omaha City Council voted 4-3 on Tuesdayto reject an amendment from the city’s charter convention that would allow Mayor Stothert and any future mayor to work outside the city for up to five days.

The mayor pushed for the amendment that passed unanimously in the 15-member charter convention, arguing with upgrades to technology like video conferencing mean you can work anywhere.

“The amendment I proposed is not about me, personal time off, or working remotely,” said Stothert. “The amendment modernizes a 65-year old charter to acknowledge advances in communication technologies.”

Stothert,who’s currently on an Italian vacation, has been criticized for taking a large amount of time off. 3 News Now has previously reported the mayor will have been out of the state for 42 working days by the time she gets back.

All four Democrats on the city council voted to reject the amendment. The three Republicans voted to put the amendment on the November ballot. The week before, the council passed the same measure with Councilmember Danny Begley voting yes.

Tuesday, he switched his vote, pointing to politicians like Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Gavin Newsom, the former left Texas when they had a massive power outage, and the latter was heavily criticized for breaking his own COVID guidelines.

Begley said what both men did was wrong and by rejecting the charter amendment he was acting in a nonpartisan fashion.

Councilmember Vinny Palermo argued that his constituents have universally told him they don’t want this amendment.

“Very few items did I hear 100% on, except for one,” said Palermo.

But Stothert said she only received calls and emails from less than 10 residents critiquing the travel.

While Councilmember Aimee Melton vowed to bring back a similar measure, Stothert appears to want the issue over with.

“It's time for this to end and focus on issues our citizens really care about,” said Stothert.

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