I would like to express my concern for recent activities by the City Council. There have been numerous cases in which the City Council has shown little regard for the city’s staff. Some of those members have not realized that they are there to represent their constituents, not to cast their own opinions without respect for others.
Over the past three years I have seen many talented city employees leave just to join other cities (some competing in a sense for the same types of growth and community experience we are trying to achieve). These were individuals who gave many years of service, only to be rewarded with disrespect. We continue to see this exodus and at some point we have to look at what is causing this to happen. I do speak from experience; I had the privilege to serve four years on the Planning Commission. It is Elk River’s loss and at some point it has to stop. It’s embarrassing!
The council has no right in asking for changes in city staff without merit. Most of these actions were based on personal opinions and/or biases. When statements calling for someone’s firing are made and not reiterated by others, an investigation of those statements should be conducted. We have to be responsible for what we say and do, and that goes for the City Council, too.
Back in 1993, a proposal from then-Mayor Duitsman noted, “He felt it was important that the City of Elk River has a code of conduct” (Mayor Dietz was on the council and had no disagreements at that time). Then again in 2010 Mayor Stephanie Klinzing had the courage to bring this up, only to be met with lots of push back from the now-serving council members. It was said by a few members that they believed the City Council was held to certain “unwritten rules.”
It is apparent that this is not the case because it continues to occur. Have the courage to make the change and hold yourselves responsible for your actions. As an Elk River resident I expect that of you all. I will echo the recent comment by Council Member Westgaard, “I think it’s baloney”!
I am hoping that Mayor Dietz will take this opportunity to react in an appropriate manner and follow Stephanie, and many other cities around the state, to implement a long-awaited policy. Anything less than that will tell us all it will be a long, bumpy road ahead.
Bottom line here is this: If you want to criticize and hold others to a high standard then you must be willing to hold yourself to the same. — Troy Ives, Elk River