MECA blinks: Terms cut back, for now

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

OMAHA—The city’s powerful arena board has blinked.

MECA runs the $291 million CenturyLink Center

With two weeks to go before City Hall’s “30 days or else” threat kicked in, the 5-member Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority voted unanimously Thursday to pull its call for 7-year terms in office—the terms are back to five years, at least for now.

City Attorney Paul Kratz had threatened a “possible termination” of the city’s contract with MECA if the board didn’t budge.

Unlike its last tense meeting which lasted over an hour, today’s about-face was quick and quiet.

Prior to today’s vote only Chairman John Lund and Willy Theisen, both of whom voted against the longer terms two weeks ago, spoke publicly.

“It’s time to hit the reset button,” said Lund.

Theisen said, “We have to manage by example.”

The board also rescinded it’s earlier vote to expand from five members to seven.

But following the meeting board member Jay Noddle told Nebraska Watchdog both longer terms and more members are still on the table.

Mayor Jean Stothert has opposed longer terms. City Council President Pete Festersen says the majority of the council favors a bigger board.

Stay with Nebraska Watchdog for more on this continuing story.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org Omaha.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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