NEBRASKA CITY – A lawsuit filed against Nebraska City commissioners by a former city clerk has been ordered to mediation.
Former clerk Arnold Ehlers claims commissioners misinterpreted state laws regarding the commission-form of government and discharged him following a 74-minute closed session in 2015.
The city claims Ehlers was not terminated, but his term as clerk came “to a natural end” when he did not receive enough votes to be re-appointed.
The city claims that while Ehlers did express concerns to the state auditor that prompted a review of the city’s accounting practices, Ehlers concerns were not well-founded.
Ehlers’ lawsuit names commissioners Jim Stark, Mindy Briley and Jack Hobbie, all who have since resigned. It also names Jeff Crunk, who did not seek re-election.
The only remaining commissioner is Vic Johns, who was at his first meeting. One of his first votes on the council was to go into the closed session.
If mediation is not successful, the case is scheduled for trial July 17.
Ehlers says the laws require the city to give its clerks a chance to defend themselves against political actions. He said he should have had opportunity to have commissioners’ discussions about his job performance in open session.
The city said the law does not give its city clerk an “entitlement” to the job and allows the employees to be discharged at any time.