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Wells council stunned

By Staff | Apr 17, 2010

Stephen Burns

Mum is the word.

Wells City Council members aren’t saying anything about a completed report into alleged misconduct of two employees.

In fact, City Attorney David Frundt has instructed city officials not to say a word.

However, one thing is certain: the total price tag of more than $26,000 doesn’t sit too well with some of the council members.

“I had a big case of sticker shock. It seemed to me it was a big cost overrun,” says Councilman Stephen Burns.

When the council was reviewing monthly bills to pay, Burns made a motion to table one submitted by Setter & Associates in the amount of $24,816. Also, another bill for data recovery from a computer totaling $1,532 was tabled.

Councilman Ron Gaines, who seconded Burns’ motion, says he needs more information regarding the investigation.

In a unanimous vote, payment of the two bills was put on hold.

“I’m just not comfortable spending that kind of money for something I haven’t seen. In these times, money is too hard to come by,” he says. “I’d like to know what we’re paying for.”

In November, the council hired the Brooklyn Park firm to look into written complaints filed against a street department employee and police officer.

At that time, Setter & Associates submitted a cost estimate of $4,000 to $8,000.

The last item on Monday night’s agenda was the council going into closed-session to discuss the investigation report with Frundt.

The discussion behind closed doors lasted nearly 30 minutes and Police Chief Jim Ratelle also was allowed to sit in.

When the meeting was re-opened to the public, Mayor Shannon Savick reported the council would not take any action regarding the investigations.

Last month, Frundt told the council he was reviewing two reports that were delivered in a box the size of a dormitory refrigerator.

The city attorney had no comment when asked if he was finished examining the documents.

Frundt also would not say if the reports offer a recommended course of action.

Gaines says it was his understanding that if the cost was going to exceed $8,000, prior approval was needed to continue the investigations.

Gaines says the council didn’t give its OK, so he assumes it was City Administrator Jeremy Germann.

“If they just would have come to us and said it was going to cost more, ‘Who would have said no?'” asks Gaines.