Omaha City Council selects Vinny Palermo’s replacement

Newest councilmember selected on third round of voting
South Omaha once again will have proper representation on the city council.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 1:24 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The city’s 4th District will soon have representation on the City Council again as councilmembers selected from five finalists to replace ousted Councilman Vinny Palermo.

The council vote comes days after interviews of the final five candidates were conducted at a public hearing. The vote was conducted via secret ballot, repeated until one candidate had at least four votes. The clerk printed enough ballots to conduct the vote 20 times.

No such majority was reached on the first or second round of voting. The first round was a tie: three votes each for Erik Sevellon and Terri Blackburn, down party lines. The second round was another tie, this time between Ron Hug and Terri Blackburn.

On the third round, Ron Hug was voted in unanimously. He will spend next week in orientation before being sworn into office at the Sept. 26 council meeting.

Hug has served on the Metropolitan Community College board for 24 years. He told 6 News after the vote that was at a loss for words and hadn’t expected to be appointed to the seat.

“I’m numb,” Hug told our Brian Mastre. “I’m very emotional. I didn’t prepare any remarks. I really didn’t think I was going to get it. There were some very qualified candidates in that room, and I was sitting next to one of them.”

A dozen people initially applied to fill the seat previously held by Palermo before he was ousted from the seat in August. Soon after, the former councilman pled guilty to one of nine federal charges filed against him this spring and is now awaiting sentencing.

Palermo has been in jail since late April, when he was indicted in a federal corruption case. The council voted 6-0 on Aug. 1 to vacate his seat after three months of unexcused absences. Palermo never fought the move to vacate his seat or even whether his absences should be counted as excused or not. He also collected a paycheck for the position while behind bars.

Watch Tuesday’s council meeting vote

The Omaha City Council voted three times before coming to a majority decision on the new Dist. 4 councilman.

More Palermo coverage