Stothert’s appointment loses; Mayor blames ‘personal grudges or vendettas’

Omaha, NE-It appears a controversial appointment by Mayor Jean Stothert is back to square one.

As News Channel Nebraska reported earlier, Stothert’s recommendation that former City Councilman Ben Gray be named to the Omaha Land Bank erupted into a fight over race, poverty and politics.

[See our exclusive in-depth report here]

Today a divided city council effectively killed the appointment and Stothert’s Chief of Staff, Tom Warren, tells NCN the mayor will be taking applications for the post.

In May, Gray lost his 12-year city council seat to Juanita Johnson who has been leading the charge against Gray’s appointment.

Today Stothert issued this statement:

"Appointments to the city's boards and commissions are based on experience and qualifications and should never be influenced by personal grudges or vendettas. I recommended Ben Gray to the Land Bank Board of Directors because he is the best candidate.  Mr. Gray served as the City Council's representative since the creation of the Land Bank in 2014. It is disappointing that his qualifications and years of service on this board, and to City Council District 2, have been ignored and criticized."

With his appointment dead, Gray and Johnson sparred again today.

[See their comments above]