GRAND ISLAND -- The Grand Island City Council has voted against trying to oust Mayor Jay Vavricek after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.
Council members listened to public testimony Tuesday that largely supported the mayor. Members then debated whether to seek his dismissal from office, and a majority ultimately voted against the proposal.
"The charge doesn't fit the crime," councilwoman Peg Gilbert said in voting against the proposal.
Councilman Mike Paulick had filed the misconduct charge against Vavricek, citing the mayor's March 2 drunken-driving arrest in nearby Howard County. His blood tested at 0.093 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Vavricek pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was fined $500.
Many of those who spoke for Vavricek's retention noted they didn't condone his actions. Former Mayor Margaret Hornady said she could not defend the indefensible, but said proceeding against Vavricek would not benefit the city.
Attorney Bill Kelly, who defended Vavricek in the Howard County case, said the Grand Island misconduct ordinance requires a high level of negligence and the act or acts must be done with intent and in the context of work in the elective office.
After the meeting, Vavricek said he was very sorry for what occurred.
"Sometimes good comes from very difficult things," the 59-year-old mayor said. "There will be good that comes from this, but it's not without a lot of regret."