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City attorney addresses Mary Lou Brown's resignation
For the past several months, the city of Grand Island has been in the midst of controversy over leadership in the fire department.
At the center of the issue was City Administrator Mary Lou Brown.
Tuesday night, Mayor Jay Vavricek wiped the slate clean, asking Brown to permanently step down from her position.
While the mayor made the decision, the only communication from him is in written statements.
City Attorney Bob Sivick served as a spokesperson on the matter Wednesday.
Sivick said Vavricek didn't make this decision based on personal animosity, but because "the situation was just no longer working."
The problem was that there was conflict with the council and obviously there was contention in the community and the mayor felt it was best to basically wipe the slate clean," Sivick said.
While Vavricek is trying to smooth over rough waters, some question if he threw Brown under the bus to take the pressure off himself.
"No, the mayor is not doing that," Sivick said. "What the mayor is interested in is having the city run and progress for the benefit of the people of Grand Island. The city, for the last several months, has been bogged down with controversy over the fire department and we're going into the budget season."
Sivick was unable to go into detail on what exactly led up to Brown's resignation, but it's clear, the political halls of city hall and the streets of Grand Island were headed in opposite directions.
When News 5 tried to get opinions from citizens, few wanted to speak up--afraid to talk on camera or even have their words quoted in fear of saying the wrong thing.
One man did share his opinion, though.
"The mayor and Mary Lou Brown were just sitting there running the show and council was just sitting there letting them do it, then they had that insubordination on that one guy which they said was personal and that's a bunch of crap," the man said.
The concerned citizen chose to remain anonymous but said he believe Vavricek made the decision for personal gain.
"Well, I say he wants to get re-elected when this election comes up that's why he's doing it," he said.
Sivick said the resignation is the beginning of a healing process for Grand Island.
Council intends to have the interim city administrator hired by July 10. Theposition is not governed by civil service, like the fire chief position, so there are no limitations on how long the potential interim can serve.
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