Phone Survey Asks About Mayor Recall

By: Ann McIntire Email
By: Ann McIntire Email

Some Channel Six News viewers say they have been called by a survey company. Some of the survey questions are intended to measure public opinion about a possible recall of Omaha Mayor, Jim Suttle.

Many would agree Mayor Suttle's term got off to a rocky start, from an aide who was tied to allegations of sexual misconduct, to city workers being laid off, and a proposed entertainment tax. Still, is it enough to recall the mayor?

Mark Paulsen received a phone call Monday evening, asking him various questions about the city. "It was a survey about how the city was being run and my opinions about the mayor, questions if I would support a recall, if I would sign a recall."

The caller said he was with a research group, but did not say who was funding the poll. That is common with many phone surveys.

"I think they're pro-recall, even though they didn't persuade me one way or another, their questions led you down a certain road, and that road was to recall the mayor," said Paulsen.

Mayor Suttle was sworn into office June 8th. By state law, no recall efforts can begin until six months in, which is December 8th. For a successful recall effort, the support would need to come in the form of petition signatures.

"The amount of signatures is set, it's a percentage of the number of voters in Omaha, the city of Omaha, and I think that number's a little over 26,000," said Professor of Political Science, Randall Adkins.

If the 26,000 signatures that are needed are gathered, the Douglas County Election Commissioner says there would need to be two votes. One to recall the mayor, and another to elect a new mayor. Each of those would cost taxpayers between $300,000 and $350,000, totaling more than $600,000 for the city.

"I think really what happens is the real challenge is for the mayor, if they get enough signatures, does he want to resign or stand for election," said Adkins.

Ron Gerard, Mayor Suttle's spokesman, had little comment on the survey, however the mayor's wife, Deb Suttle, did call Channel Six News after we first reported on the survey Wednesday morning.

Mrs. Suttle says the Mayor's office is aware of the recall effort and the phone calls.

Channel Six News has talked with a number of people in political circles here in Omaha. So far, while there's a lot of speculation about who might be sponsoring the survey, no one seems to know for sure, and if they do, they're not saying.


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