Petition group targets Friday in York attorney flap

2011-10-11T07:00:00Z Petition group targets Friday in York attorney flapBy ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
October 11, 2011 7:00 am  • 

A York County commissioner trying to unseat County Attorney Bill Sutter said she and other petition circulators will turn in enough signatures by Friday to force a recall election.

Pat Bredenkamp said those seeking a change in the county attorney's office probably have the minimum number of 1,165 signatures already. But they will gather more in the next few days ahead of  Saturday's deadline.

"We're looking in December" for an election outcome, Bredenkamp said.

Even though the law appears to make Monday the acceptable filing alternative, "We want to be prepared to turn them in Friday afternoon," she said, "because there's always a chance it could be challenged if we waited until Saturday."

Sutter, 68, has been on the hot seat since August. That's when county commissioners responded to a long list of written complaints from his three office associates, including Deputy County Attorney Candace Dick, by asking for his resignation.

The complaints alleged behavior issues and profanity-laced statements from Sutter that contributed to tension, low morale and disruptions in work flow.

The first entry on the list involved a situation in which Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning wanted Sutter to follow through with prosecution of a child-pornography situation.

Bruning eventually decided to have his staff handle the matter. He also decided to investigate Sutter's recent conduct.

Reached Monday, Sutter said he still had no intention of resigning.

"I'm doing a good job, and I'm working every day at it," he said. "And I'm going to continue to work at it until somebody tells me differently."

He reiterated that "I knew nothing about this whole situation until they called me into a County Board meeting on Aug. 23."

Bredenkamp acknowledged that she holds another elected office in York County and that some might see that as a reason to stay out of the petition drive. But she said she and her fellow commissioners were in the best position to know the details of the accusations against Sutter.

"When it comes to us," she said of receiving the complaint from county employees, "then it's hard for us to sit still.

"We're fearful that, if we let this go, we might have a lawsuit against the county that really would have cost us a lot of money."

Sutter said he was not sold on commissioner claims that they were acting as private citizens in circulating petitions.

"For them to say this is not a board action is just absolutely ridiculous," he said. "And the board should not be doing this. But that's for another day."

Reach Art Hovey at 402-473-7223 or at ahovey@journalstar.com.

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