MECA member: Controversial longer terms still possible

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Despite MECA’s about-face vote on Thursday, longer terms for board members are apparently still on the table.

“Longer terms are not a bad thing,” the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority’s Jay Noddle tells Nebraska Watchdog.

Talk of longer terms for the MECA board appear far from over

In addition, and especially if the powerful arena board adds some members down the road, Noddle insists the current five year term with possible re-appointments could move to a “one and done” six or seven year term.

Nebraska Watchdog: Do you think longer terms are still possible?

Jay Noddle: Absolutely. I don’t think anything is eliminated (by Thursday’s vote).

With two weeks to go before City Hall’s “30 days or else” threat kicked in, MECA voted unanimously Thursday to pull its call for 7-year terms.

MECA runs the $291 million CenturyLink Center

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

MECA and the city have a legal difference of opinion which could define the future of any increased terms.

City Hall says that according to state law the terms of those serving on a non-profit board, such as MECA, cannot exceed five years.

Noddle, who initially voted (see interview below) for longer terms, and others at MECA argue that restriction does not apply to “appointed” board members—the arena board is appointed by the mayor and city council.

If longer stints and more board members aren’t enough to keep MECA in the headlines also expect continuing talk about public records and conflicts of interest.

MECA does not abide by the Nebraska Public Records Law—the mayor wants that to change—while accusations of a conflict of interest tied to a former board member ran rampant last year leaving some to insist that MECA needs more internal controls.

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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