MECA Board Member Resigns
Omaha, NE- The MECA board member at the center of a residency controversy has stepped down. Jamie Gutierrez-Mora said it's time to quit and let the board move forward. She submitted her resignation Wednesday morning.
Mayor Jean Stothert calls her resignation "the preferred outcome". Her resignation comes after weeks of criticism and debate over her eligibility to serve on the board that manages CenturyLink Center Omaha, TD Ameritrade Park Omaha and the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
"Gutierrez is resigning from the MECA board and we'll move forward with a new appointment, the city council will, once thats commenced." says City Council President Pete Festersen.
Gutierrez-Mora was appointed to the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority board this past May. Soon after, her residency became a hot topic.
"The confusion I think boils down to terms that I think are inconsistent in city code and in the original agreements so at a minimum i think that needs to be made consistent." says Festersen.
MECA board members are required to be Omaha electors, meaning they live and vote in the city limits. Gutierrez-Mora told the board she lived in South Omaha, but records show she lives in Bellevue.
Council President Festersen says the confusion centers around working in the MECA contracts.
"Narrowing that definition to "Resident of City of Omaha", which is a much more clear term appears commonly in city boards and commissions and really recognizes that the ultimate stakeholder here is city of Omaha tax payers." explains Festersen.
Gutierrez-Mora didn't return our phone calls for an interview, but told The Omaha World Herald Tuesday night, "there was so much confusion over the rules and a lack of consensus on a resolution to the matter that I just think it was time to move forward."
MECA Board President John Lund says the controversy has created a distraction, he says "we understand and appreciate her decision and the board will accept her formal resignation."
Festersen says city council will take a look at the terminology so contusions doesn't happen again in the future. Council will now appoint a new member to the board.