Bellevue City Council passes long-debated ordinance, opting for reprimand over removal

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A months-long, drawn-out debate came to an end Tuesday night with a few quick pushes of a button during a much-anticipated ordinance change in Bellevue.

While it sounds cut-and-dry, the meeting had a lot of lead-up to the big vote.

The conversation about the change began with an amendment taking the word "removal" and replacing it with "sanction." Public comment on the change brought a variety of comments.

Some disapproved.

"You've kind of torn this community apart," Community member Todd Santoro said during public comments. "All kinds of finger-pointing. All kinds of grief."

Also discussed: Councilman Pat Shannon's new recall effort of Councilwoman Kathy Welch.

"Since Councilmember Shannon has made these statements about a recall putting an end to the City Council problem and make no need for these ordinances, I feel it was necessary for me to state that council member Kathy Welch is not the elected official that made the inappropriate statements," Council President Paul Cook said.

Welch spoke on the recall herself.

"Despite efforts of another City Council member to intimidate and harass me into voting no on this ordinance, I am voting 'yes,' " Welch said.

Finally, the big change was put up for a vote and approved. The new amendment means that instead of being removed from office, elected officials will either be reprimanded or taken off committees.

In the end: five votes "yes," with only Pat Shannon, voting "no."