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Kiester refuses to accept resignation

By Staff | Feb 3, 2013

A Kiester councilman sat with others attending a special meeting Monday night as his colleagues discussed for nearly 20 minutes whether he would continue serving.

Dean Johnson submitted his letter of resignation, however, accepting it was anything but a formality.

Right at the start, Councilman Rich Jensen made it clear he was against granting Johnson’s request.

“He didn’t disclose any confidential information. As long as it is public knowledge, no sanction can be taken. There is no violation,” says Jensen.

The newly elected councilman’s opinion is based advice attained from a League of Minnesota Cities attorney during a workshop held for new council members.

Mayor Jeanne Brooks didn’t give details on why Johnson was submitting his resignation.

“He said something he shouldn’t have about a resident to another person,” says Brooks.

Johnson addressed the council, saying, “I can’t argue. Everybody has good facts and I did step over the line.”

Councilman Monty Flaskerud says Johnson has done a good job while on the council and stepping down would be a loss.

But, Flaskerud says Johnson has displayed similar behavior in the past.

“There have been a couple of other incidences that weren’t handled very professionally. It’s been an embarrassment to the city,” Flaskerud says. “It’s been an ongoing thing that’s not good.”

Brooks called the situation “more serious” than in the past and the other incidences should have been dealt with better.

“It’s a violation of code of conduct. We held to a higher standard because we represent the people of the city,” says Brooks. “We have to treat our citizens with respect in everything we do.”

Johnson told council members he talked with and apologized to the people.

At one point, Johnson told the council that approving his resignation would be in the town’s best interest. “If you don’t there will be a lot of hate in this town and I don’t want that and we don’t need that,” he says.

Council members agreed that the incident was a learning experience for everyone and then voted unanimous not to accept Johnson’s resignation.

“I wanted to know who asked him to resign and why,” says Jensen. “I didn’t feel that proper things were going on.”

It was suggested that Johnson perhaps should attend the next data practices training offered by the League of Minnesota Cities.

In other business, maintenance supervisor Marly Albers went over duties associated with his position.

In May, Albers is planning to retire.

Council members want to put a job description together before he leaves.

“There’s a lot more that goes on in this position than people think is evident,” says Albers.

Brooks says she thinks writing job descriptions for other city positions also would be helpful.

“It’s to our advantage to have job descriptions, to know what city employees do,” she says.