Increasing tension has led to animosity between members of the Kettle River City Council.

In October a training session was hosted by Pam Whitmore of the League of Minnesota Cities to address these ongoing issues. 

Of particular concern during this training was determining a point of contact for city workers, determining how and which members of the council are allowed to contact city contract employees, such as the city attorney, and the procedure for information or data requests. Prior to this meeting the League of Minnesota Cities informed Kettle River that if issues were not resolved they would no longer be able to carry the city on an insurance policy. The goal of the training with Whitmore was to have the council come together and work as one cohesive unit. 

At the council meeting immediately following the training on October 12, trust issues continued between members and Council member Monique Doward left the meeting prior to it being adjourned. This caused the council to need to recess due to a lack of quorum and reconvene at a later date. After the regular city council meeting from October 12 was reconvened on October 19 animosity on the council was still at an all time high.  During a discussion of two internal incident reports Doward made an accusation of racism against the council. 

At the November council meeting eight letters of complaint were read to the council taking offense at the accusations of racism made by Doward at the October meeting. 

A review of the meeting minutes from Kettle River shows that many of the issues Whitmore came to work on have dated all the way back to July of 2021. According to the minutes confusion over contacting city employees, outside agencies and proper channels for data requests have been a recurring issue. 

The council made and passed a resolution accepting the resignation of Janice Sherman and declaring a vacant position on the council. This seat was to be filled by appointment. At the November council meeting Mayor Dave Lucas determined that the council seat would remain open another month and no letters of interest were entered into the meeting record.  

Sale of parcel

At the October 19, 2021 meeting the council determined that they would like to purchase a blighted parcel of property from Carlton County spending up to $1,000. A discussion of placing stipulations on the resolution of the blight issue at this property resulted in the council requiring those seeking to purchase the property placing a $2,000 closing fee on the property. The $2,000 will be returned to the property owner after the blight issue is resolved. 

This parcel was posted online for sale via sealed bids beginning October 26. The council accepted a final bid of $1,700 at the November 9, 2021 council meeting. 

The next meeting of the Kettle River City Council is on December 14, 2021 at 7 p.m. at Kettle River City Hall.

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