Brainerd City Council: Council doesn't move forward with hearing request | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Brainerd City Council: Council doesn't move forward with hearing request

Posted: February 19, 2013 - 11:21pm

The Brainerd City Council made no movement in a resident’s request for a hearing to oust council member Gary Scheeler.

Brainerd resident Guy Green called for Scheeler to be removed from his seat at the Brainerd City Council meeting earlier this month.

Green suggested the Ward 3 council member used his position to get Green removed from his radio broadcast, “The Speakeasy,” a political talk show on 3WI Radio.

Green said Scheeler canceled advertisements for Scheeler’s business on the station because of views Green expressed on his talk show. Further, Green said Scheeler put pressure on 3WI Radio management against the program.

Scheeler’s lawyer, Ed Shaw, however, said Scheeler never demanded the program be taken off the air. Instead, he stopped the 90-second advertisements for his business a couple of weeks ago because he didn’t want to continue advertising on a station that attacked him by calling him names and criticizing his business, Shaw said.

Shaw sent a written response before Tuesday’s meeting.

“Mr. Green is upset that Alderman Scheeler suspended his advertising. ... Mr. Green’s claim that Alderman Scheeler does not have a right to terminate his advertising on a radio program or talk to others in the community who he knows about the personal attacks occurring on Mr. Green’s show is without merit or credibility. Mr. Green is apparently upset that Mr. Scheeler won a recent election against a candidate backed by Mr. Green and is upset that Mr. Scheeler has not voted the way that Mr. Green would have wanted him to on recent issues before the city. Political disagreement is not a basis for removal of an elected official or the council having a public hearing of any kind.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick said the council is not required to hold a hearing, but it can, should the members choose to.

“You should be aware that even if the council chooses not to go forward with this serious process, there are other remedies,” he said.

Either person could bring civil or criminal action against the other.

If the council were to choose to pursue charges, a 10-day notice would be required before a hearing takes place, and a two-thirds majority vote would be needed to remove any council member.

The council had very little discussion on the topic.

Since it was not a public hearing, the audience could not speak in the council’s dialogue.

After no motion was made to move forward, Green, who sat in the front row, stared silently forward in Scheeler’s direction.

Green stood up during the open forum part of the council meeting, but once he started reading his statement, was told by council president Bonnie Cumberland to sit down since it was in reference to his complaint against Scheeler. Open forum discussion cannot be about items that already appeared on the agenda.

Council member Mary Koep made a motion to overturn Cumberland’s decision, which died after a lack of a second.

Green shook his head and left council chambers.

Scheeler would only say after the meeting that he is “taking the high road.”

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