By Brian Ojanpa
Free Press Staff Writer
KIESTER — Though a Kiester City Council member wanted to resign after admittedly breaching professional protocol, the council opted to decline his request.
“What he did was unacceptable, and we talked about the way we have to act,” Mayor Jeanne Brooks said.
“It’s a learning process when you’re a council person, and he’s only been on the council two years.”
According to city officials, Councilor Dean Johnson apparently contacted a family member of a Kiester homeowner regarding possible shutoff of utilities for non-payment of bills.
Brooks said such personal contact is beyond the purview of council members, and any communication between the city and property owners in this type of matter must properly come from the city clerk.
Councilor Monty Flaskerud said although Johnson committed no statutory violation, the council and mayor decided the matter needed to be formally addressed at a recent special council meeting with Johnson present.
At that meeting, Johnson told council members he apologized to the people he contacted and told the council that accepting his resignation would be in the town’s best interest.
“He kind of realized what he had done and realized he hadn’t handled it the right way,” Flaskerud said.
Rather than accept his resignation, Brooks said the council preferred to make the incident a learning experience for all.
She said it also helped that the homeowner Johnson contacted called the city and asked that he be retained on the council.
Kiester is a town of 500 residents in Faribault County.