Following interviews with six Brainerd city administrator candidates Monday and Tuesday, council members made a motion to offer the position to Nathan Burkett — current county administrator for Todd County — following a background check and employment contract negotiations. The motion was approved with a 5-1 vote with council president, Mary Koep, voting against the offer.
A factor — though not the only one — in voting no, Koep said, was due to charges brought against Burkett’s wife, Kim, of theft and theft by swindle in Todd County.
Kim Burkett, former Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce director, was charged May 15 in Todd County District Court on felony charges in connection with allegedly misusing chamber funds from mid-2011 to April 2012. She is accused of taking approximately $29,191.68 according to court documents.
“Obviously I can’t say a whole lot to it and the truth is, I don’t know a whole lot,” said Burkett in a phone interview Thursday. He was never criminally charged with any wrongdoing in relation to the pending case. “I am not criminally implicated and I didn’t know that any of this was going on and didn’t know of any illegal activities.
“If I did, I would have been just as likely to blow the whistle, that’s just the type of person I am.”
Burkett said upon learning of the accusations, he requested the Todd County Board do a full audit and investigation to clear up any rumors that he may have been involved. The investigation cleared Burkett of any wrongdoing, finding no errors relating to him mismanaging county allocated money and funds.
Koep said the information surrounding Kim Burkett was fully disclosed to council during the process of hiring a new city administrator, and when asked in his interview if there was anything else the council should be aware of, Burkett willingly volunteered the information to council.
Koep added that not a lot of discussion or concern based on the allegations surrounded Burkett or his qualifications for the position.
“What I do like to say,” said Burkett, “is that in this country we are innocent until proven guilty.”
Kim Burkett is scheduled to make her second court appearance in an omnibus hearing with Todd County at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.