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Nisswa City Council member Tina Foster handed in her resignation letter Thursday

Third Nisswa City Council member resignation in eight months

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Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

A third Nisswa City Council member on Thursday resigned, marking the third council resignation in eight months.

Council member Tina Foster handed in her resignation letter Thursday. In Foster’s letter she stated the reason for her stepping down was to focus on family and business.

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Foster is the fourth to resign since October of 2011, when Harold Kraus, longtime mayor and council member, resigned. Kraus resigned, stating the city’s current direction was not the best for the future of Nisswa. Kraus was the sole council member to oppose a street plan and bonds.

Council member Lenny Hodgson resigned suddenly July 22, 2013, after more than a decade of non-consecutive terms of service. Hodgson resigned for personal reasons and declined to elaborate on his reasons for leaving.

Council member Jan Pierce resigned Feb. 24, stating that “I have a moral and philosophical disagreement with the direction that the leadership is taking, or not taking, and I can’t support what the city council’s doing any longer, period,” Pierce said in a phone interview after her resignation.

In Foster’s resignation letter she stated, “I appreciate the opportunity to represent the citizens of Nisswa and am proud to call Nisswa home. I however, am choosing to relinquish my commitment to being a council person and focus on my business and family.

“I ask that you respect my decision and I wish you the best moving forward.”

Foster was elected in 2010 to her first term, which expires at the end of the year.

Calls were made to Foster, but they were not returned.

Nisswa City Clerk Laurie Hemish said the city council will meet Wednesday to vote on accepting the resignation letter and declaring a vacancy.

When reached by phone Thursday, Nisswa Mayor Brian Lehman, who was in a meeting all day, knew nothing about Foster resigning.

“It’s shocking,” Lehman said. “I have nothing to say about it since it’s new. She was a good member of our council. I will have to see her letter and find out why she resigned.”

When asked about the reasons why so many council members have resigned in the past year, Lehman said that each individual gave a different reason on why they resigned.

“I can’t control that,” he said. “Everyone had their own personal reasons for resigning, I can’t guess why and I don’t know if they are connected.”

The Nisswa City Council has had some personnel issues this past year. In August of 2013, the council offered Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor a year’s pay and benefits in exchange for his resignation. The offer also stipulated that he not disclose the details of the agreement or disparage the council or the mayor. Taylor rejected the offer and maintained he had no complaints against him and he has never had any disciplinary action taken against him.

The city suspended Taylor on Aug. 15, 2013, but he was later reinstated as the city received a maintenance of status quo order from the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS). The order bars the city from making any staffing changes.

Following the meeting surrounding Taylor, the council accepted the resignations of its city attorney and appointed a new legal firm.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl.

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Jennifer Stockinger
(218) 855-5851
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