City Council Members Rebut Comments Made by Mayor

BROKEN BOW—Following the Broken Bow City Council meeting earlier this week, KCNI/KBBN released a story reporting that Mayor Jonathon Berghorst had not signed the resolution to set the recall election date against him. The council had voted unanimously to approve the recall election to take place on January 14, 2020 but Mayor Berghorst has not yet signed the resolution as of Thursday afternoon.

According to Broken Bow City Clerk Stephanie Wright, the mayor has seven days after the resolution is passed by the council to file a veto or the resolution is automatically signed into law, even without his signature.

KCNI/KBBN spoke with the mayor on Wednesday to which he said a group of city officials went to the courthouse following last year’s election “to contest the outcome.”

“The council does not want to get along and I think that is evident by now. It started when I was first elected to office, when Rod Sonnichsen, Jason White, our ex-Mayor [Cecil Burt], and the city administrator [Brent Clark] went to the Custer County Courthouse to contest the outcome. I have been fighting an uphill battle ever since,” Mayor Berghorst said.

Councilmen Jacob Holcomb and Rod Sonnichsen contacted KCNI/KBBN to dispute the mayor’s comments. Rather than contesting the election, Holcomb and Sonnichsen said former mayor Cecil Burt, former city administrator Brent Clark, city attorney Jason White, and council president Rod Sonnichsen arranged to meet with County Clerk Conni Gracey to obtain an explanation as to the significant swing of votes that took place between the election night and the final outcome. This meeting was also confirmed by Gracey.

Holcomb said the election was never under protest and that the aforementioned city officials instead spoke to Gracey for an explanation as to how the number changed so quickly.

Gracey informed KCNI/KBBN that the there was an error when counting the write-in candidates and thus the numbers were incorrect when the unofficial results were released. The Canvasing Board was able to find the error in the counting and the numbers were finalized, declaring Jonathon Berghorst the winner last November.

In response to Mayor Berghorst’s comment about Sonnichsen assuming the role of mayor–if Berghorst is voted out of office–Sonnichsen said if he wanted to be mayor he would have put his name on the ballot.

“If I wanted to be the Mayor for this term, I would have ran for the Mayor of this term. I took the same oath as the Mayor now, but if I have to be the Mayor I will resort back to that oath because that’s what the people who put me into office want me to do,” said Sonnichsen