Gary Smith


In the wake of longtime City Council Member Gary Smith passing earlier this summer, the governing body is in the process of finding the right fit for the vacant Ward 3 seat.

During last Wednesday’s David City City Council meeting, the decision was made to table any action relating to the consideration of appointing a city resident to take over the rest of Smith’s term, according to David City Clerk/Treasurer Joan Kovar.

About two weeks ago, Kovar said she received one application for the position, which then went through the proper channels to land in Mayor Alan Zavodny’s hands. She noted during a recent interview with The Banner-Press that there hasn’t been a clear-cut timeline established relating to filling the vacant position.

Action could have potentially been taken during that Aug. 28 meeting, however, Council Members Pat Meysenburg and John Vandenberg were not in attendance.

Smith before his late July passing served as a David City governmental representative for more than 20 years. Kovar said that Smith was first appointed to the council December 1996 and was a continuous member after.

“He was always very good,” Kovar said of Smith’s representation. “He always wanted to hear everybody’s sides on things, he didn’t come in ever with his mind made up, I think he was open-minded and wanted to hear what the public had to say … I think the job really did mean a lot to him.”

Reiterating that point, Kovar noted how that even when the late council member’s health was deteriorating, he still wasn’t willing to forgo his duties, even though it would have been completely warranted and justifiable.

This was a trait that was present during the duration of Smith’s tenured service, Kovar said.

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“He wanted to serve … He was very dependable, that’s for sure because he was always here,” she said.

Those wishing to throw their hat in the ring for the chance to be appointed to the Ward 3 seat must live in the ward and can apply to Kovar’s office, which in-turn will be given to Zavodny. To learn more about how this process works, those interested are encouraged to call the city clerk at 402-367-3135, Ext. 10.

City Council President Kevin Hotovy echoed Kovar’s sentiment about finding the right candidate in a timely manner who can do the job the right way.

"We really can’t be too choosy, the main thing is that you have to find someone that’s willing to do it, that would be the main criteria,” Hotovy said. “And you have to find someone that is willing to put the time into it.”

Much like Kovar, Hotovy spoke highly of the way that Smith tackled his job with a real sense of purpose.

“That’s a testament to what he was willing to do for our community, it takes a lot of time and work to do this council job, and we don’t get reimbursed super well for our time,” Hotovy said of Smith’s commitment. “So you have to do it out of wanting to make your community a better place, and he did that. So my hat is off to him. He’s the standard for everyone else to strive for.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net

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News Editor

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram, Schuyler Sun and The Banner-Press newspapers. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015.

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