East Bethel mayor's residency questioned at critical time for the city

  • Article by: Shannon Prather , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 28, 2013 - 10:25 PM

After foreclosure, he lived in campground, then outside city.

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jimmywestoneDec. 29, 13 7:59 AM

Sounds like the other council members are bitter losers that are trying to take advantage of the mayor's financial struggles. Maybe it would be ok if the mayor camped out on one of their front yards.

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chuckhoovDec. 29, 13 8:04 AM

Pettiness is alive and thriving in East Bethel. Good luck to the mayor.

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faloinkDec. 29, 13 9:56 AM

why bother having rules at all if when one u don't like gets in your way , you just ignore it. i guess thats what u get when u elct a mayor that gets his house foreclosed on .

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tcatheartDec. 29, 1310:32 AM

I'm trying to see both sides of the issue. It's very unfortunate that the Mayor had his house foreclosed on, especially through no fault of his own (medical emergency). If the city rules dictate that the mayor live within the city boundaries, then it certainly seems like he would not be able to be mayor. However, it also seems that one of the Council members has an axe to grind. I think if you looked at the circumstances, you could come to the conclusion that waiting three months to allow the Mayor to find more permanent housing within East Bethel might be the best route to go. Give him a time line. If he doesn't comply in that time, then remove him as mayor.

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jjoe759Dec. 29, 13 2:49 PM

Obviously the Mayor was not forthcoming about his residency. The Councilmember had to ask about it. It is too bad that he has had some medical issues that caused him to have financial burdens. That being said, when you hold this type of a position, you are in the "Spotlight". And, to be making these types of decisions for the resident you should definitely be a resident, have the same financial interest, you should live there. Otherwise, how would you be able to make decisions in the best interest of the residents? Sounds to me like the Councilmember that asked about the residency has the residents best interests in his heart.

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chuckdancerDec. 29, 13 5:20 PM

Considering the circumstances I think the mayor's opponents are being a little too rough. It may be that they have some legal leg to stand on but I don't think that cutting him some slack would be too difficult. Unless there is some evidence of illegal activity not mentioned here give the guy a break through the winter.

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ebcedarDec. 29, 13 6:38 PM

I wonder how many of the commenters actually live in East Bethel. This issue was brought up by a council member after being contacted by residents who noticed the mayor no longer worked or lived in EB. All pettiness aside, the council member had no choice but to address the issue as residency is a requirement for office. The mayor is being evasive about how long this has been going on and it appears that his change in living quarters began prior to October. While one could assume that his evasiveness may be due to an attempt to protect his privacy or the embarrassment of his circumstances, he clearly participated in this article in this metro-wide publication. As an EB resident, I have to ask why he is willing to be so open with the Star Tribune when he was unwilling to be open with his fellow council members and the residents of East Bethel. Instead of taking responsibility for not being forth coming about his residency, he is using this article to shoot the messenger and draw on public sympathy. While his circumstances are unfortunate, I'm disappointed that he is playing the sympathy and victim card, rather than letting the facts and the law steer his fellow council members to make the right decision for the city.

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decembersueDec. 29, 13 9:45 PM

citizens of east bethel should note they live in a town that is barely a spot on the map. If a little deference is given for what is obviously a terrible situation, literally nothing of consequence will happen as a result. It's pretty up there, but let's not pretend that the mayor's office has as much responsibility as a student council at a major university.

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carl12345Dec. 29, 1310:00 PM

As a new resident, I know this is a critical time for East Bethel because of decisions that resulted in trickle-down tax burdens that needed to be managed. I'm sorry for the Mayor, but I wonder if he can be present. I hope he would be allowed some time to meet the requirements of his role, if he can be. If he's not able, he should admit that. I value his efforts and those of the council at a time when we are needing leadership and wondering why such an expensive project that seemed unnecessary should fall on those who won't even benefit.

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ebbiznizDec. 29, 1310:43 PM

Yikes, the mayor's misfortune and faulty reasoning allows him to place himself before the citizens of the city. Really? When was he going to tell us he no longer lives in the city. When was he going to the those who voted for him that he moved his business to Isanti? He never got out in front of this issue by bringing it up on his own and hoped no one would question the residency issue. I believe he is capable of being mayor all right, FOR ISANTI. Richard, stop whistling past the grave yard.

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