- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

CENTRAL CITY, Neb. (AP) - Voters will have their say Tuesday on whether to recall a longtime member of the Central City school board who participated in the firing of the high school football coach.

Chapman and Central City will open voting places from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The only question on the ballot is the proposed recall of Kent Malm, who has been on the school board for 25 years, The Grant Island Independent reported (http://bit.ly/1cVkTTd).

More than 500 people signed a petition seeking the recall vote. Kip Lenhart, of Central City, filed the paperwork for the recall drive. He said the effort wasn’t based solely on the April firing of Central City High School football coach Darin Garfield. But Lenhart said the issue “brought a lot of things to light as to what was happening in our school system.”

“We believe that recall of (the board members) is warranted due to lack of responsiveness to concerns raised by public and staff, lack of oversight and failure to require accountability from administrators, failure to provide leadership to improve our school,” said the recall petitions.


Officials have declined to say why Garfield was fired as football coach.

The petitions to recall school board members Dale Palser and Steve Belitz were deemed invalid on Aug. 13. Merrick County Clerk Marcia Wichman said petitioners hadn’t complied with a requirement that each page must state whether those circulating the petitions were volunteers or paid circulators.

Wichman also said that because Palser and Belitz were up for election next year, they couldn’t be subject to recall within six months of the incumbent filing deadline for the office. The last date they could have been subject to recall was Aug. 16.

Malm was re-elected in November 2012 and is not up for election next year.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com