Two Brainerd City Council members' attempts at Tuesday's council retreat to respond to accusations they violated Minnesota's open meeting law were cut short by Council President Jim Dehen.
The discussion was in response to The Dispatch story Tuesday in which Brainerd Mayor James Wallin and council member Lucy Nesheim accused council members Bob Olson and Gary Scheeler of meeting illegally, dating back to April 3, 2001, to discuss city business while the two served together on the Safety and Public Works Committee.
After Olson began discussing the accusations at Tuesday's retreat, Dehen cut him short, saying that it wasn't something the city council should be discussing.
"As far as I know there have been no charges, no complaint and we're not the deciding body for this," said Dehen, "and we won't use council time for the back and forth discussion between these two parties.
"It was started in the paper, it should be settled in the paper."
Olson, in the brief time he had to speak Tuesday, said he was being crucified in The Dispatch, and that each of the allegations made by Wallin and Nesheim were false.
"I feel I live in America, where I'm supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. But I guess with what happened in the paper tonight it's reversed," said Olson. "There's no way, Mrs. Nesheim, that Mr. Scheeler and I would violate the open meeting law."
Nesheim didn't comment about the accusations at Tuesday's retreat. Wallin, recovering from surgery, was absent from the retreat.
Scheeler noted that Olson had resigned from the committee Aug. 6 because he didn't want to violate the state's open meeting law. Olson resigned in order to do consulting work for Scheeler's lawn and garden retail business.
"There is a due process for this," said Scheeler of accusations of council members violating the open meeting law. "It is serious and it is happening."
A decision on if the city council will discuss the accusations will be made at Tuesday's regular city council meeting.
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