BEMIDJI — In a stunning addition to the agenda for Tuesday night time’s Bemidji Metropolis Council assembly, Basic Councilor Audrey Thayer proposed scheduling a dialogue about persevering with the tenure of metropolis supervisor Nate Mathews.
This transfer appeared to have stunned not less than some councillors, and its addition was opposed by Ward 4 Councilor Emelie Rivera and initially by Ward 5 Councilor Lynn Eaton earlier than the amended agenda was lastly handed with solely Rivera in opposition.
After the same old enterprise of the assembly was concluded, particularly a public listening to on the proposed reconstruction of Norton Avenue, additional dialogue of the topic continued in direction of the tip of the night.
Earlier than the dialogue started, Mayor Jorge Prince requested metropolis legal professional Katie Nolting for authorized recommendation, as Mathews’ employment falls beneath human assets.
Metropolis supervisor of Bemidji, Nate Mathews
Nolting, who had not been suggested of Thayer’s intention to lift the topic, communicated that she didn’t have time to organize the suitable authorized recommendation for the session, and really useful that the council elevate the topic for future consideration. submit assembly.
“First, I have to warn the council that it is a personnel matter, which implies it must be carried out in closed session,” Nolting mentioned. “Secondly, I can not provide you with authorized recommendation tonight on what to do as a result of I did not get a warning. … My suggestion could be that you just go forward with this movement and permit me to provide the full, appropriate authorized recommendation on what you’ll be able to and can’t do.
After Nolting shared this view, Prince requested whether or not her reporting to Mathews as a part of her place would create a battle of curiosity.
Whereas Nolting clarified that her final duty rests with town and never Mathews, she did share that if the council had been extra comfy receiving authorized recommendation on the topic from one other legal professional, Flaherty and Hood’s agency could possibly be enabled.
Thayer, who initially introduced up the dialogue, mentioned she could be extra comfy with outdoors authorized recommendation.
“I’d be involved proper now in regards to the battle with our legal professional and the cooperation with town supervisor,” Thayer mentioned. “I feel we’d like an exterior individual for that. Nothing private for our lawyer, I feel she does a superb job.”
Each Eaton and Rivera, who had initially opposed the addition of the subject to the agenda, shared their views.
“I feel this wants time to be totally researched and thought by way of. (I am not going to) rush judgment right here till I’ve heard some actually first rate arguments,” Eaton mentioned. “I am all for submitting it and getting it carried out proper.”
For Rivera, the problems went past simply submitting the subject, as she even shared considerations about how the problem got here out.
“I used to be completely stunned by this and I am unsure learn how to course of what occurred,” Rivera mentioned. “The response of my fellow council members didn’t match mine. It even appears that there was prior information or understanding of it. I hope I am unsuitable.”
Rivera requested her fellow council members, particularly those that voted to place the dialogue on the agenda, to contemplate the ramifications of the dialog and take Nolting’s recommendation.
“There’s quite a lot of items taking part in right here,” Rivera defined. “I ought to say I’d actually think about our authorized recommendation on this.”
Ultimately, Prince agreed that town ought to search authorized recommendation earlier than continuing with the dialogue, and submitted a proposal to place the subject on the desk till the council’s subsequent session whereas searching for outdoors authorized recommendation.
“I feel that’s good recommendation. I’d be prepared to file a movement right here that will say we put this dialogue on the desk for 2 weeks till our subsequent scheduled council assembly, and to hunt authorized counsel from Flaherty and Hood,” Prince mentioned.
This movement handed 5-1, with Rivera sustaining her opposition to the broader subject.
As for why Thayer began the dialogue, she alluded to points happening behind the scenes, however gave no additional clarification through the assembly.
“It is a personnel subject, and out of respect for my emotions and for town supervisor, I would like to order it (for a future assembly),” Thayer mentioned.
The following scheduled council assembly will likely be held on Monday, February 6, the place the topic of scheduling a gathering to debate Mathew’s continued employment will likely be introduced again to council.