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Brainerd City Council: City attorney to retire

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Brainerd City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick will retire at year’s end.

Fitzpatrick made the announcement at the Brainerd City Council meeting Monday.

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The move coincides with his retirement from the practice of law.

The council accepted with regret his resignation, and authorized the request for proposal process to replace him.

“It has been a privilege to serve as city attorney for Brainerd, the city where I was born, raised my family and have lived virtually all my life,” he said.

City councilman Gary Scheeler said he is sad to see the city attorney go.

“You will be sorely missed,” Scheeler told Fitzpatrick.

City councilwoman Mark Koep suggested looking into the cost effectiveness of possibly having an as-needed city attorney versus a full-time position.

City administrator Theresa Goble said it’s convenient for staff to have a local attorney who is quick to respond to questions.

Fitzpatrick has been practicing law for about 43 years.

Fitzpatrick noted he appreciates the confidence and trust the council placed on him during his time as city attorney.

He said he would help ease the transition to his successor.

In other council news:

Set a public hearing for code enforcement abatement and citation assessments for unpaid citations issued this summer as part of the city’s code enforcement efforts. The public hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4.

Set a budget workshop for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28 in council chambers. If needed, a second workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 25.

Approved demolition of a hazardous structure at 122 1st Ave. NE. The Brainerd Building Department has been working with the property owners for several years, and have now reached a tentative agreement to have the city contract for the demolition and assess the cost over a period of years. The quote came in at $4,900 and will be paid within seven years by the property owner.

Approved contributing $500 to the removal of buckthorn along the new Buffalo Hills Trail. The county’s Soil and Water Conservation District is leading the effort, which carries a total price tag of $2,500 per hour. The money will come from the general unallocated fund. The removal will only happen on public property.

Approved the promotion of Brainerd Police Department officer John Davis to patrol sergeant. The council also approved authorizing a conditional police officer job to the top candidate on the eligibility list, Ashland Lambert, contingent on successful completion of all pre-employment exams.

Appointed members to the Bikeable/Walkable Ad Hoc Committee. Appointed were Jan Burton, Jeff Czeczok, George Fruth, Sarah Gorham, Nila Patrick, Carolyn Pope, Laura Rathe, Ed Shaw, all of Brainerd, and Patricia Townsend of Nisswa.

A city council member will be appointed liaison to the group in the near future.

The council voted to form the ad hoc committee at a previous meeting.

Accepted $10,000 from the Initiative Foundation to be put toward the study of the proposed Mississippi River Walk. The council also voted to contribute up to $5,000 from the capital projects fund toward the study. The whole study costs almost $20,000. Voting against contributing $5,000 was Mary Koep,

In open forum, Brainerd resident Jeff Czeczok suggested minutes from a meeting held Dec. 19, 2011, were inaccurate. He played a recording and provided a print out from the official record. The 2011 meeting was a closed session that went into open session to discuss negotiation strategies.

City staff will review the minutes and determine if something needs to be addressed or fixed.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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