Special council meeting set to address jail contract veto

    Mayor Dwight Coleman said he didn’t want his name attached to a jail contract in its current form.
    That’s why he vetoed the contract which passed 3-1 at the city council’s Feb. 3 meeting after it was forwarded to them from Chase County officials.
    “I don’t like the jail part,” he said.
    Specifically, in referring to occasions when city-arrested prisoners are refused at the jail in Imperial, he doesn’t like the contract wording: “Chase County will make all reasonable efforts to obtain access to a jail to house said prisoner.”
    “I’d prefer it say the county ‘will’ find another jail if refused here,” Coleman said.
    He is concerned that one phone call to another jail could be the equivalent of the county’s “reasonable efforts.”
    He also maintains, based on discussion with a Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) representative at a city-county joint meeting last September, that it’s the county’s responsibility for the jailing OF prisoners, even when they have to be refused locally.
    After the council’s vote to approve the contract last week, Coleman had seven days to give notice in writing of his veto.
    He did that Monday morning this week by signing documents in the city offices, citing state statute 17-111.
    In addition to the document’s veto notification, it also requests, if the council chooses to override his veto, that a member of the council sign it.
    A special meeting is set for tonight (Thursday) at 6 p.m. in the council chambers to consider the override and, if that is done, to direct a council member to sign the agreement on behalf of the city.
    A two-thirds majority vote is needed to override. If last week’s 3-1 vote stands, that is enough for the override.    
    The contract has signature lines for both the mayor and chief of police. Police Chief Ryan Wisnieski signed the contract since last week’s council meeting.
    County officials put their signatures on the agreement at a January meeting.

 

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