GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The same city councilman who raised concerns about Grand Island becoming known as a “gay-friendly” community helped enact a city protection against discrimination in hiring for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people Tuesday night.
Action by Councilman Mitch Nickerson — which involved an override of a mayoral veto — came at the end of a wrestling match between the council and Mayor Jay Vavricek regarding whether sexual orientation should be added as a protected class in the city’s hiring practices.
The council voted 6-4 to add the bias protection. Nickerson had voted against the proposal, along with council members Chuck Haase and Scott Dugan and Council President Peg Gilbert.
After the vote, Vavricek asked the council members to explain why they voted as they did. He then vetoed the proposal.
Despite having opposed the proposal, Nickerson didn’t like the veto.
“I believe the council has spoken,” he told the mayor.
Nickerson had taken much criticism from his comment during debate last month of his concern in making Grand Island known as being “gay-friendly” if the city passed LGBT protections citywide for all employers, for housing and public accommodations. That October measure failed by a vote of 8-2.
A supermajority of seven votes was required to override Tuesday’s veto. Nickerson and Haase voted for the override, which passed 8-2. Gilbert and Dugan voted against the override.