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Councilman vents frustration

By Staff | Dec 27, 2010

Dan Brod

One outgoing Blue Earth City Councilman used his last meeting to vent some frustrations and tell the rest of the council why he has decided to no longer serve.

Another one simply did not attend his last meeting.

Dan Brod asked for some time to address the council last Monday night, in a meeting that lasted a total of 20 minutes.

Brod had not run for re-election to the council at last November’s election. He has served on the council for 15 years.

Councilman Les Wiborg, who had served for 20 years, was defeated in the last election and was not present at Monday’s final meeting of 2010.

Brod told the council that a large part of his decision to not run was due to the airport issue.

“We need our airport and our airport needs to have a good, safe runway,” Brod says. “It is just the methods used to make things happen that have really turned me off.”

Brod says the council was misinformed more than once on what they could, or could not do, as far as the runway expansion and how it would be paid for.

He says the council was told that 95 percent of everything would be paid for by the Federal Aviation Authority.

“But, that is true only if we do the project,” Brod says. “If we didn’t do the project, we would owe $350,000 to Bolton and Menk (for preliminary engineering costs), or if we did the project, we would owe $350,000 for our share of the total work. So, we do something or do nothing and spend the same money.”

He called it a classic case of the ‘tail wagging the dog.’

Brod also complained about what he called inflated numbers of landings and takeoffs at the airport, which were used as part of the application to the FAA for the airport project.

“The numbers we first had showed 13,500 operations per year,” Brod says. “That would be 6,750 takeoffs, and 6,750 landings per year. Or 130 takeoffs and 130 landings per week. If any of you really think this much activity is really happening at the airport, I question your sense of reality.”

Brod says what really concerns him is that no one questioned these numbers.

“Not the mayor, the city administrator or the council questioned if these were accurate figures,” Brod says. “I, myself, had grown tired of challenging the information.”

He advised the new council and the city staff to always question everything.

The problem with the UHD clinic/hospital expansion, specifically the ambulance garage, was also on Brod’s list of reasons he was quitting the council.

“Again, we need our hospital and it is a definite asset to our community,” Brod explains. “We are so fortunate to have this kind of a facility here.”

But, Brod continued, the effect on the neighborhood if the ambulance garage and fence had been installed was not good.

“What occurred was a huge lack of respect for the neighborhood,” he says. “Although they might be more satisfied now than eight months ago (because the garage has been removed), they will not forget what was proposed to them and what did occur.”

Brod says when he first started as a councilman, 15 years ago, his goal was that Blue Earth might be a better town than it was before.

“We have a lot of great people in this town,” he says. “But when administrators, council members and mayors think things are as they should be, that they might give glowing reports on what is happening in our city and how it is all wonderful, you may need to take a closer look.”

Brod and Paula Kelly were presented with plaques of appreciation for their years of service to the board. There also was a plaque for Wiborg, but he was absent from the meeting, and it will be given to him later.

Also at the shortened meeting, Police Chief Dean Vereide and officer Todd Purvis were given plaques honoring them for having saved a life recently, while on duty.