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Blue Earth denies recall petition

BLUE EARTH — After nearly an hour of discussion which included a report from an attorney and input from members of the public and the council themselves, the Blue Earth City Council voted 6 to 1 to deny a petition calling for a recall election of a council member. The decision came at the beginning of the regular City Council meeting last Monday night. A group of citizens had previously presented the petition calling for a recall election of councilman John Huisman. The reason given was that Huisman had violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution due to his co-signing a letter to KBEW radio station concerning removal of a radio program. The letter also threatened to organize a boycott of the station if the program was not removed. At a previous special council meeting the council decided to postpone a decision on the petition until after having an independent attorney study the legalities. At Monday’s meeting, attorney Christopher Kennedy of Mankato gave both a verbal and written report. At the end of Kennedy’s four-page report, he stated the members of the recall committee on this matter had done everything that was required of them to institute the recall of the council member, following all the requirements set out in the City Charter.“The language of the Charter, however, is in conflict with the provisions of the Minnesota State Constitution that there must be an allegation of malfeasance or nonfeasance in order to remove an official,” Kennedy stated. “The allegations in this matter do not meet that definition ­- so the recall petition should be denied.”Kennedy also stated he felt that if the council did accept the petition, councilman Husiman’s attorney could take the matter to District Court and would win a decision that the petition was not valid. Mayor Rick Scholtes was the lone vote against the motion to deny the petition.“I feel we need to follow our City Charter now,” Scholtes said. “And in the future change the Charter to follow the constitution.”Kennedy had stated earlier in the meeting that in the future the city of Blue Earth should amend the Charter to include language that is consistent to the Minnesota State Constitution.

In other business at the meeting, the City Council:

— Approved a contract for crack filling at the Blue Earth Municipal Airport for $68,592. All of the cost will be covered by funds from the FAA and a grant.

— Approved the summer mowing contract with More Than Mowing of Winnebago at a cost of $47,670.

— Approved the purchase of playground equipment for the Third Ward Park at a cost of $36,423. Part of the cost, $30,000, will come out of the capital expenditures budget, the other $6,423 will come out of the liquor store fund.

— Approved an expenditure of $5,290 to Vets Glass of Winnebago for replacement of doors at the City Hall.

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