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Potential vacancy could open on Gering council
January 22, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Rebecca Shields

Rebecca Shields, who was narrowly re-elected to the Gering City Council last November, might have to give up her seat because of a planned move.

Shields said she and her family plan to move into a new home on the Monument Shadows Golf Course in mid-February. That would put her new residence in Gering’s Ward I, but she was re-elected to a third term in Ward II.

According to state statute, if an incumbent moves from the precinct in which he or she is elected, the position becomes vacant.
Shields said she’s now in her ninth year on the council, which is the main reason she doesn’t want to resign. Much of her first term was devoted to learning the laws and ordinances required for the operation of cities. But she said she now has the background, training and experience to be a productive member of the council.

“I really don’t want to resignsince I was voted in while living in Ward II. I am seeing if there is any way possible that I can fulfill my term,” Shields said. “To me, I don’t see why it should matter that
I moved to another part of Gering. I am still in the community and I will help any citizen, no matter what ward they or I live in.”

Shields’ re-election last November was a close one. Challenger and former city clerk Kerri Schnase-Berge eventually lost by a seven vote 292-285 margin, after provisional ballots were counted.

Schnase-Berge, who might have been considered for the seat, said a growing family has made it necessary for her to find another residence. She, along with her husband and son, will also be moving into Ward I, so she would be ineligible to serve in Ward II.

Shields said there are still many projects going on in Gering that she wants to be a part of. But if she has to resign, she recommended the council appoint Matt Kautz to replace her.

“Matt would definitely look out for the best interest for the citizens of Gering,” she said. “He’s attended a lot of council meetings over the years to let council know his feelings on different issues, so he knows what is going on in the city.”
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