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New mayor in Bricelyn

By Staff | Feb 12, 2012

Arlen O'Brien

The city of Bricelyn has a new mayor. But, the appointment wasn’t without a heated exchange of words.

At Monday night’s meeting, acting-mayor Mike Henning asked for nominations of current City Council members to fill the position.

Henning told those in attendance the council would then vote on who would be the mayor.

That didn’t sit too well with resident Randy Wilson.

“It doesn’t seem right you can just appoint someone and then vote on it,” Wilson says.

Following the resignation of Tom Sens last month, Henning contacted City Attorney Bill Barke for advice.

Henning says the council is following the legal process and told Wilson he didn’t want to listen to his “outbursts” and the matter wasn’t open for public discussion.

“I will not stand for it. I will call the sheriff and they will come and remove you. Does anybody have a cell phone?” Henning told Wilson.

The acting-mayor asked Wilson to leave and he did so after being persuaded by his brother.

Councilman Arlen O’Brien says state law and the League of Minnesota Cities guideline spell out how the vacancy can be filled.

Council members voted to have O’Brien serve out the remaining months of Sens’ two-year term, which ends this year.

“It wasn’t a total shock,” O’Brien says of his appointment. “I’m used to running meetings and all the legal-smeagle that goes with it.”

O’Brien served nine years on the Kiester School Board, three of those as board chairman.

Four-year term seats held by Henning and O’Brien also are up for election this November.

The council must now find someone to fill O’Brien’s seat.

Henning urged the council not to wait too long to appoint someone. Perhaps, doing so that same night.

The new mayor did not agree.

“I’d like to have a work meeting and discuss several issues and move this on to next month,” says O’Brien. “I think one appointment at a time is enough.”Henning says council members should come to the work session set for 7 p.m. on Feb. 14 with names of potential candidates.

Henning asked Bob Bramer, who was in attendance, if he was interested in serving.

Bramer says he’s open to the idea.

In addition to filling the council seat, the work session could address changing the council’s monthly meeting date to the first Tuesday of the month.

O’Brien encouraged council members to have a list of items for discussion.

In other business, the council:

• Tabled Jeff Stevermer’s request to vacate an alley so he can expand a building. Council members will contact the city attorney regarding any possible legal issues;

• Approved the advertising for a pool manager;

• OK’d a bid to repair the Fire Hall roof.

• Approved a $100 donation for Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.