Brainerd council bids farewell to Lambert, Erickson

Jan Lambert and Wayne Erickson both attended their last Brainerd City Council meetings Monday, Dec. 21.

Wayne Erickson (left) and Jan Lambert are departing the Brainerd City Council.

Holiday spirit abounded at the Brainerd City Council’s last meeting of 2020, as members bid farewell to their colleagues Jan Lambert and Wayne Erickson, who will not return to the council next year.

Wayne Erickson’s window on the virtual WebEx meeting Monday, Dec. 21, shone with the blinking of his Christmas light necklace, while Kevin Stunek sported a bright red Christmas sweater, Kelly Bevans a festive vest and Dave Pritschet a musical tie.

Wayne Erickson.jpg

With about eight months on the council under his belt, Wayne Erickson — who was appointed to fill a vacancy in northeast Brainerd’s Ward 3 in late April — said he has been so impressed with city staff and enlightened on the inner workings for the city. He had a heartfelt message for each council and staff member.


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“Kris Schubert, the HR director, she’s phenomenal — the way she’s so kind and patient,” he said.

“Connie Hillman, financial director, I don’t know how she keeps all the numbers straight.

“Jennifer Bergman, you are amazing with the knowledge you possess. I’ve just been so pleased with the direction.
“Dave Chanski, great young man to work with.

Brainerd City Council and staff members, some clad in festive Christmas attire, discuss matters during their virtual meeting Monday, Dec. 21, via WebEx. Screenshot

“Paul Sandy, I hope you don’t burn yourself out, but man you’re doing a great job.

“Dave Pritschet, I just really appreciate your good spirit.

“Kelly (Bevans), sitting next to you, it’s just been a joy to see your experience.


“... Jan Lambert, I’ve enjoyed serving with you. I hung out with your husband Mike a lot, and you’re just good people, and I thank you for that.

“Kevin Stunek, I love your attitude and the way you approach things, and in your time with the city on the fire department, you’ve got a lot of great insight.

“Tad Erickson, what can I say? You’re an Erickson, and you’re doing a fantastic job. Your youth and your wisdom is phenomenal.

“... (Mayor) Dave Badeaux … I don’t know what to say. You’re doing a great job. Thank you for taking on the responsibility.

“Gabe Johnson, listen, you do a great job as a chairman. You’ve got a great mind.

“I just think the leadership in our city — I am so impressed, and I’m so glad that I had a part of it. And now to go back into civilian life, I just cannot say enough good things about the city staff — the ones that I’ve worked with — and the city council. I’m excited for you, and I’m excited to be part of the city, and I just thank you so much for having this opportunity.”

Depending how things work out, Wayne Erickson said he may run for a council seat again in the future.


Jan Lambert.jpg

Lambert, who finished her first four-year term on the council, said she echoed Wayne Erickon’s sentiments and added some thoughts of her own.

“I have been very impressed with city staff, with our city employees and with our council. I have enjoyed my four years on here,” she said, noting she’ll also be glad to have more free time now to spend with her eight grandchildren.

As a parting request, Lambert asked if she could continue serving on the city’s rental housing committee, where she has been the council liaison for the last couple years. The short-term committee was formed primarily to address recurring issues at a property on Juniper Street and keep those issues from happening elsewhere in the city. Lambert said the committee is wrapping things up, and she would like to see the job through to the end. The rest of the council members said they had no issues with that.

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Staffers and council members thanked Lambert and Wayne Erickson for their service, writing comments in the virtual meeting’s chat feed and stating their thoughts aloud.

“Jan, it’s been a pleasure serving with you for the last four years, and I’m grateful that you’ve served on planning and zoning,” Council President Gabe Johnson said. “... and Wayne, your positivity and the gratitude you exude every day with your life is just something I appreciate. I wish I could spend more time with you just so some of that could rub off on me and try to make me a better person maybe, so thank you for what you brought to the council this year.”

Erickson was appointed to the city's cable TV advisory committee and parking commission Monday night, and Lambert said she plans to apply for some committees as well.


Merry Christmas

During his report at the end of the meeting, council member Dave Pritschet asked the community to consider giving a special Christmas present to someone who needs it this year.

“Show some appreciation for anything, especially the small things,” he said. “Go out of your way just to show that your way to show that somebody has done something to make you feel a little bit better. If we all do that, these will be a lot easier times to get through.”

Pritschet closed out the meeting with renditions of “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” played on his musical tie.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .


Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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