DAVID CITY -- Former Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue will move from state government to local government in her new job as city administrator for David City.
The City Council recently voted 3-2 to approve a contract with Cornett, who will start work Sept. 24 at an annual salary of $65,000.
Interim City Administrator Joan Kovar will resume her duties as city clerk.
Cornett succeeds Jon Holmes, who resigned in early 2011.
Cornett represented District 45 in the Legislature from 2005 to 2013, until term limits forced her from office.
Before being elected to the Legislature, she worked as a police officer in Omaha, a nonprofit director and also owned a government services consulting business. In 2008, she was elected chairwoman of the Legislature's Revenue Committee.
“I am very aware of situations a lot of our small towns in rural Nebraska are facing and also some of our larger municipalities,” said Cornett, who will turn 47 on Thursday.
David City Mayor Alan Zavodny said he met Cornett a few years ago when he sought advice about a possible run for the Legislature. She was helpful then, and when he recruited her for this job, he said, he heard “glowing” reports.
The hiring of an administrator has been an off-and-on City Council discussion since Holmes left a month into Zavodny’s term. Recruiting efforts included citizen panels, but Zavodny handled this search after the city advertised the post in 2011 and attracted few qualified candidates.
Zavodny said timing was becoming critical, since Cornett’s family would need to get ready for the move to David City after the start of the school year.
He agreed with council members that the city has been running OK without an administrator, but said Cornett's leadership should improve some operations.
Councilman Ruddy Svoboda, once staunchly opposed to hiring an administrator, proved to be the swing vote in hiring Cornett. He said his nephew, an Omaha cop, knows Cornett well and recommended her. He said the city has found “a diamond” in Cornett.
The vote to approve hiring her was split, but those voting no were not overly critical, and Zavodny said "no" votes won't carry lasting grudges.
David City, population 2,900, recorded an increase of 300 to its population in the 2010 Census.