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PLATTSMOUTH – Plattsmouth Mayor Paul Lambert said a mayoral recall divides a city, taking years to heal itself.

“I would hate to see that happen to Plattsmouth,” he said Tuesday.

Lambert responded to efforts by a citizens’ group to remove him from office.

At the heart of the matter, according to a recall organizer, is how the city handled the removal of gravestone decorations and other mementos at Oak Hill Cemetery earlier this spring that brought out a large crowd expressing its anger at the April 15 City Council meeting.

Much of the anger was directed toward City Administrator Erv Portis, who admitted the removal was not communicated well.

At that meeting, it was learned that the city’s Cemetery Board had not met for several years.

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In an email to the Plattsmouth Journal, recall organizer Greg Hughes said that while concerns initially started with the cemetery cleanup, there are other issues with city government that are concerning in the minds of the recall supporters.

Hughes said the group is seeking the removal of Portis, but since he is an appointed official, the only people who can remove him are the mayor and the City Council.

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“The mayor has stated he supports Mr. Portis and his decisions, so we are seeking a recall of the mayor,” Hughes said.

The group filed initial paperwork June 5, and by law, Lambert has 20 days to respond with a 60-word-or-less statement that will be printed on the recall petition, Hughes said.

Following that, recall supporters have 20 days to pick up the completed petitions, and then 30 days to collect and turn in the signed petitions.

The group needs 538 signatures, or 35 percent of the votes cast for Lambert in the last election.

If enough signatures are verified, the Cass County Election Office would begin steps to schedule a recall election.

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