A seat on the Bellevue City Council remains vacant after the council voted down Mayor Rita Sanders' choice for the spot, saying another candidate was more qualified.
The council's action drew the ire of Sanders and several residents who attended Monday's meeting to support her appointee, local business owner Michael Hall.
“I am appalled at the level of arrogance I have seen,” Bellevue resident Lu Hoogeveen said. “Once again you are making this city the laughingstock of the metro area.”
Sanders said she plans to resubmit the appointment, saying that Hall, owner of Twin City Masonry, is the “clear choice” for the open seat. “It was amazing how many people told me these stories of (his) unselfish deeds,” Sanders said.
Three of the five council members — President Don Preister, at-large member Carol Blood and Steve Knutson, who represents Ward 4 — voted against Hall. They said they prefer Dave Compton, another business owner in Ward 1.
Knutson said Compton is more actively involved in government and is knowledgeable about most major issues facing the city.
“Dave's just kind of a known quantity around here,” Knutson said.
The three indicated after the meeting that they would take another look at Hall but made no promises about whether they would change their votes.
Council members Kathy Saniuk and Paul Cook voted for Hall's appointment.
At the meeting, Sanders cited Hall's work with the Bellevue Bridge Commission, Offutt Advisory Council and Offutt Fallen Warrior Memorial.
She said many Bellevue residents expressed support for Hall.
State Sen. Scott Price submitted a written recommendation.
“I have personally worked with Michael on various efforts, both on Offutt AFB and in the community, and know firsthand his work ethic and his love for the Bellevue community,” Price wrote.
Compton owns D.C. Electric and serves on the Sarpy County Personnel Policy Board and the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce board.
Like Hall, Compton garnered dozens of letters of recommendations from officeholders, business leaders and other Bellevue residents.
“His passion for all things Bellevue stands out,” wrote businessman George Rybar of Offutt Collision Repair.
But Sanders said others expressed reservations about Compton, including former council member John Ott. In a letter urging Sanders to appoint Hall, Ott wrote, “I also know Dave Compton, but feel that he would not be supportive of you and the endeavors that the city faces.”
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