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McFarland’s resignation on council’s July 14 agenda
July 10, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
With a letter addressed to the City of Gering administrative staff and elected officials, Ward IV council member Jill McFarland has officially resigned her position and will not fill out the remainder of her term.

McFarland has sent her letter of resignation to council members Rebecca Shields, Larry Gibbs, City Clerk Kathy Welfl and the media on June 27. She also posted it to her Facebook page.

According to state statute, “such resignation shall be in writing and shall not take effect until accepted by the Board of officer to whom the resignation is tendered.” Because the letter wasn’t sent to the entire city council and the mayor, it could not be considered as a formal resignation.

McFarland changed that with a letter dated July 4 to “city administrative staff and elected officials.”

Gering Mayor Ed Mayo said he believes the city can accept McFarland’s revised letter and will include her resignation as an agenda item for the July 14 council meeting.

McFarland will still need to sign a form with the county election office to request her name be taken off the November ballot.

One of the major points of contention that led to her resignation was a proposal to meet with company representatives from South Korean based Food to Energy

(F2E) about potentially building a meatpacking plant in Gering.

McFarland wasted no time as a private citizen to post a letter on her Facebook page which she also sent to F2E representatives.

The letter started with “I want to make sure you are aware of the dissention you have created in our community.” She claimed the company was involved in “clandestine discussion with city leaders regarding your project.”
Some of the points her letter addressed included a strain on the school system based on increased enrollment of students who may not be proficient in English. Pressure the plant would place on city infrastructure and needed upgrades to the water and sewer system for it to operate were also objections. She also said increased property taxes would be needed to pay for more city services, including fire and police protection.

Although she no longer speaks in any official capacity, McFarland’s letter concluded with “In short, we don’t want your plant in Gering, and you are not welcome in our community.”

The city has taken no official action on any facet of the F2E project, but it is sure to be discussed in the future as Gering residents voice their support or opposition.
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