Breaking: Longer terms in crosshairs as City’s lawyer tells MECA to fix it or else


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

OMAHA—Well that didn’t take long.

One day after the powerful arena board voted to increase its terms, City Hall’s lawyer is threatening to go the mat.

City Attorney Paul Kratz telling MECA it has 30 days to rescind the move or suffer the consequences. According to Kratz that means “possible termination” of the contract between the city and MECA.

By a 3-2 vote MECA board members extended their terms from five to seven years.

During a tense Tuesday meeting MECA upped its terms from the current five year appointment with possible re-appointments, to a “one and done” seven-year stint.

MECA Chairman John Lund, who supports the seven-member board, fought the extension.

“I don’t like it, it doesn’t feel right,” said Lund, who argued that MECA already suffers from a “reputation issue.”

MECA’s Dana Bradford proposed the longer terms

Board member Dana Bradford, who suggested the seven-year term, insisted that without “tenured talent” — keeping current board members around longer — MECA would lose experience and suffer.

Board member Willy Theisen argued longer terms would only make MECA’s public image problems worse. “We have to hit the reset button… this is self-serving.”

In the end, the board voted 3-2 for longer terms, with Bradford, Jay Noddle and Jim Vokal voting yes. Vokal’s term was supposed to end next month, now he’ll serve until 2016.

Following the vote Mayor Jean Stothert also called the board’s plan “self-serving.”

“I think it surely hurts any effort to work with MECA. It’s very difficult to work with them if they are making these unilateral decisions.”

MECA officials have not been immediately available for comment.

Stay with Nebraska Watchdog for more on this developing story.

Contact Joe Jordan at and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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