Judge Gerrard rules LENRD Board cannot limit per diem payments, reimbursements
NORFOLK, Neb. -- A northeast Nebraska natural resources district can't legally block one of its members from getting reimbursed for board-related travel.
U.S. District Court Judge John Gerrard issued a decision Wednesday granting a portion of an injunction filed by Melissa Temple against her own elected body - the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District Board of Directors.
In his decision, Gerrard ruled the LENRD Board has no right to limit per diem payments and reimbursements to Temple for board-related travel.
Gerrard did not overturn the NRD's decision to remove Temple from NRD subcommittees.
All of this stems from a lawsuit filed on behalf of Temple by the University of Nebraska College of Law's First Amendment Clinic.
Temple sued the board after they levied the punishments against her for speaking with the Norfolk Daily News about an internal complaint she had filed against fellow board member Scott Clausen.
The NRD Board voted to issue the sanctions against Temple at a meeting in August. A meeting that neither Temple nor Clausen attended.
The court's granting of the injunction doesn't end the pending lawsuit...although in his decision, Judge Gerrard made it clear he would rather it not get to that point, saying "now is the time" for the parties to find a way to solve this out of court.
For their part, the LENRD isn't commenting, accept to say in a written statement that they "will comply with the terms of the order."
No word on when the next hearing in the lawsuit will be.
The next meeting of the LENRD Board is Thursday.