Kimball mayor facing recall effort

KIMBALL, NE — A pair of people in a Panhandle town have started an effort to get their mayor removed from office. 

Kimball County Deputy Clerk Josi Morgan has confirmed to News Channel Nebraska two Kimball residents, Mary Laughlin and Ashley Sisk, filed the initial forms for a recall of Kimball mayor Keith Prunty on Friday, April 2. 

On the recall petition filing forms, Laughlin and Sisk said their reasons for wanting to recall Prunty include, “not having the community’s best interest in mind, serving his own agenda and disrespect and mistreatment of city employees and elected officials.” 

News Channel Nebraska reached out to Prunty for comment on the recall effort. He provided NCN the following statement:

“I have always carried out my duties as Mayor of the City of Kimball faithfully. I am focused wholeheartedly on our community’s stability, growth, and future prosperity. I fully appreciate and support the democratic process, and I will continue to represent the citizens of Kimball who voted overwhelmingly in my support at the last election. Disagreement is part of life, and I am disappointed that some citizens are unhappy with decisions that I have made as Mayor. Whatever the cause for disagreement, I will always have our community’s best interest in mind. I will do everything I can to serve with honesty, integrity, and give every ounce of energy I have to keep Kimball moving forward. There is tremendous opportunity on the horizon for Kimball. We are on the cusp of what could be major revitalization and investment in our community. I believe that now, more than ever, our community needs to be looking forward – displaying our community’s pride and positivity – to encourage future development and investment in our town. I will continue to serve to the best of my ability, always carrying out my obligations and duties as Mayor with the citizens of Kimball and our collective future in mind.”

According to Nebraska statutes, Prunty has 20 days after being notified of the recall effort to submit a brief defense statement to the Kimball County Clerk.

After Prunty submits a statement or the 20 days is up, petition papers will be prepared by the county clerk and recall petitioners will begin the process of collecting signatures. They will have 30 days to collect signatures.  

Per Nebraska statutes, the number of signatures needed is 35 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last general election the office was involved in. In Kimball’s case, that means petitioners will need to collect 289 signatures based on 2018 general election results.

If the petitioners get the signatures needed, the clerk will set a date for a recall election where voters will decide if Prunty will remain in office. 

Prunty was elected as mayor of Kimball in 2014 and won reelection in 2018.