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Wells mayor questions council member’s residency

By Staff | Dec 25, 2011

Whether a Wells councilman can continue to serve still remains a question.

Mayor Ron Gaines thought he had the answer when he asked City Attorney David Frundt for his opinion.

Turns out that wasn’t the case.

“I referred to general law about residency. Frankly, I don’t know anything about Mr. Durfee,” says Frundt.

Now, Gaines says he will “most likely” bring up the issue at the council’s first meeting in January, since they do not meet again this year.

At issue is which home Councilman Jim Durfee considers his primary residence — the one in Wells or the house he and his wife live at in Minnesota Lake.

“There were enough people who were concerned and asked about it. So, I decided to get the city attorney’s legal opinion,” says Gaines.

Durfee says he doesn’t know what all the concern is about.

“I’m still a legal resident of Wells. I get my mail there. We spend time at both houses,” he says.“Is there a problem? I don’t think there is,” he adds.

Frundt says a state Supreme Court ruling involving Jesse Ventura, when he was mayor of Brooklyn Park, addressed residency requirements to hold office.

The city attorney says the council must vote and decide if they want him to research Durfee’s residency further.

Durfee was elected in November 2010 and is finishing the first year of a four-year term.