According to public documents, Broken Bow Mayor Jonathon Berghorst has refused to sign the resolution to set the election date for the recall election. During the regular Broken Bow City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 12, the council voted unanimously to approve the recall election date for January 14, 2020.
The recall election was approved after the recall petition was able to gather enough signatures to allow the election to take place. With the mayor’s refusal to sign the resolution, the city and county will now be in a time crunch to administer the election.
According to 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.
“It’s shameful that our Mayor thinks he is above the law and can use his position to keep himself and his buddies out of trouble,” said Councilman Jacob Holcomb. “It’s a common theme that we have been seeing that goes back to the night of April 26 [April 6] and again pretty apparent by his actions last night [November 12] that he has those same views.”
While he has the right to veto any resolution that is passed by the city council, Holcomb believed that not signing the resolution, to move forward with the recall election date, was a conflict of interest and was only for the Mayor’s benefit.
As of Wednesday, November 13, the Mayor had also refused to sign any of the resolutions that were approved at the meeting, which Council President Rod Sonnichsen described as, “really concerning for the city going forward.”
Mayor Berghorst told KCNI/KBBN that it is part of the democratic process that allows him the ability to not sign the resolutions. The Mayor also released the following statement: “I would like to address the statement made by Councilman Holcomb where I believe he said it was shameful. I believe that was a statement I made to him during a special meeting regarding a long-time city employee who they forced out. I do not think I am above the law, nor have I ever thought that.” Berghorst continued, “As far as the April 6 incident, what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? 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. As far as Rod Sonnichsen’s comment, I will tell you what is concerning. If I get voted out, he will assume the role of the Mayor until the next election. The man who voted for the assessments on the downtown project. The man who voted for the assessment on the 5th street project that our citizens are still paying for. I was voted in by the people to make change and change is what I’m trying to make, because change is what I ran on. I believe honesty, hard work, and family will get you a long way in life. I am usually a man of few words, but I am tired of all of the lies and rumors going around that are not true. I would like to thank everyone for their support.”