PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (WOWT) -- An effort to recall Plattsmouth Mayor Paul Lambert is taking a big step forward. 6 News was there as the petition leader picked up the paperwork to begin collecting signatures.
Organizer Greg Hughes said this all started when sentimental items were removed from graves at Oak Hill Cemetery.
The items were removed from hundreds of graves and tossed aside. Many didn't know it was happening until it was too late.
Mayor Lambert says he's sorry and that this all was a miscommunication.
“I apologized,” he said. “It should have been communicated differently. We could have done it but we stayed within the laws of the cemetery that have been posted for a number of years now.”
It's a rule the Oak Hill Cemetery has posted at the entrance that ground decorations must be removed for mowing season. But the rule had not been enforced for years until this April.
Hughes said, “It’s disturbing because everyone has things at the cemetery for various reasons and for somebody to throw it in a pile in the woods, it's hurtful.”
Hughes said the removal sparked the petition aimed at recalling the mayor. 6 News was there Wednesday as Election Commissioner Linn Moore explained the process to Hughes.
She told us, “He has 30 days to get the signatures whether he has them all or not.”
He needs to collect 538 signatures in that one-month window in order to get the recall question on the ballot. If the drive falls short, Moore said, “They would have to wait another year before they could do another petition for recall.”
Mayor Lambert says the citizens have a legal right to petition but he would rather be addressing other city issues.
“It takes my time away from getting our water and our sewer system up and running but it's something I need to attend to,” he said.
Hughes said, “They came through and apologized but the communication wasn't there and the apology didn't seem very sincere.”
If the petition doesn't get enough votes, the recall effort dissolves in 30 days. If that happens Hughes said that he and others supporting the cause will be at every City Council meeting moving forward.