Nebraska City Mayor Bryan Bequette has continued his search to fill the finance commissioner vacancy, however, he still had no one interested in the position.

“I have learned as I contacted people that I should not go into recruiting or sales because at this point, I have not been able to get a ‘yes’ from those people that I thought would serve well as your commissioner of finance,” Bequette said at Monday’s Nebraska City City Council meeting.

Bequette said he had contacted a list of people he knew had a background in finance and public service.

“I thought we were close on three or four occasions, but I do not have a name to bring forward,” he said.

The news left the commissioners with the decision of whether or not to have a special election to fill the finance commissioner or vice-president of the commission position. The position has been vacant since former Finance Commissioner Mindy Briley resigned Aug. 17.

City Attorney David Partsch said he has been speaking with Election Commissioner Janene Bennett, who is also the Otoe County clerk, regarding having a special election.

“The law did change here in the fall that does allow for mail ballot election for a position. It used to be a mail ballot could be used for issues, but now is can be used for filling a position as well,” Partsch said. “She thinks the cost is roughly equivalent either way we do it because you know in the traditional sense, you have to have the polling places open, the poll workers and then, obviously, you have the printing of the ballots.

“On the mail ballot, you have the postage expenses,” he added.

Bennett worked on a cost comparison chart Tuesday afternoon and estimated that a mail ballot special election could cost about $9,000 and about $9,200 for a traditional open-polling election. Bennett said the price will depend on how many people will file for the position.

Partsch said Monday evening that Bennett has noticed that normally more people will vote in an all-mail election versus a traditional one.

“Also something to consider is timing and if this will obviously be into the winter here and there’s a possibility of a snow storm and things of that nature, which makes the mail ballot a little bit attractive,” Partsch said.

Partsch told commissioners that if they had decided to hold a special election, then he would need to draft a resolution. If no one files for the election, then it’s back to square one to fill the vacancy.

If an all-mail special election happens, then every registered voter would be mailed a ballot.

Parks Commissioner Jeff Crunk was worried about unqualified candidates filing in the election.

“What happens if you get say two or three people in and none of them are actually qualified for a unique position, such as finance commissioner?” Crunk asked.

Partsch said anyone who is a registered voter can have their name on the ballot.

Commissioners asked that the decision to hold a special election not be made until the next council meeting Nov. 2 to see if anyone in Nebraska City is interested in the position.

“Perhaps there is somebody out there that I have missed that is qualified and would have the right skill set and I can still bring this to appointment if I’m made aware of that,” Bequette said. “Once we call for a special election and the candidates meet the filing requirements then … it’s out of your hands as commissioners.”

Crunk thought pushing the decision back to host a special election was the best route to go for now.  

City Administrator Grayson Path said that anyone who is interested in the position can call City Hall at (402) 873-5515 and they will have the mayor contact them. Path stressed that commissioners are simply trying to gather the names of people interested in the position at this time.

Commissioners will discuss whether or not to hold a special election Nov. 2 and decide at that time whether or not to have Partsch draft a resolution for the Nov. 16 city council meeting.

The next city council meeting is Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 1409 Central Ave. The public is welcome to attend.