Contentious moments erupted during the public forum portion Monday night at the Brainerd City Council meeting.
Steven Wolff first addressed the council, providing ideas for saving money regarding software costs and then moved on to e-mail communication with Mayor James Wallin.
After Wolff began shouting, Brainerd Council President Kevin Goedker said his comments were more of a personal attack and policy issues such as the use of the mayor's contingency fund should be addressed to the council.
Wolff said the mayor questioned why he asked so many questions and in answer Wolff said he made campaign promises when he ran for the council and is keeping them even though he wasn't elected.
Wolff took issue with Wallin's use of the mayor's contingency fund to purchase document frames the mayor uses for proclamations.
In a letter to the council members, Wolff proposed changes to how the $2,500 annual fund is administered, saying no one has any say in how the funds are spent and the mayor could go to a club with exotic dancers and the council would have no say on the matter. Taking issue with money spent for document frames, Wolff opened a plastic bag and took out document frames he purchased at area dollar stores. Wolff put the frames in front of the mayor.
Wolff's voice raised when he talked about Wallin and mileage reimbursement. Wolff said with people dying in Iraq, Wallin had the audacity to put in for mileage for activities on the Fourth of July, such as the parade.
"In my opinion, Mr. Mayor, that makes you a greedy little contemptuous rat fink," Wolff shouted before returning to his seat in the audience.
During a meeting break after Wolff's comments, Wallin said he never put in for mileage for the parade and he did not feel the dollar store frames represented the city of Brainerd in a proclamation.
At the meeting, Goedker told Wolff the mayor could not accept the document frames. Goedker said the contingency fund will be discussed at the Charter Commission meeting.
Addressing Wolff's comments toward Wallin, Goedker said he has a problem when it appears the mayor is being singled out for a personal issue by individuals. Wolff responded that he took it personally when people are dying in Iraq and Wallin took mileage on the Fourth of July.
Wallin asked Wolff why he didn't call to find out about the mileage issue instead of e-mailing 12 other people questioning everything he did. Wallin read from the letter from Wolff where Wolff said no one has any say on how the mayor spends his contingency fund and it could be for lap dances.
Wallin said he was insulted and he left the council chamber. The council took a break and when it returned, Wallin said he felt Wolff had insulted the office of the mayor. He excused himself for the rest of the meeting.
As Wallin was leaving, council member Mary Koep noted Wallin and his wife were about to make an annual humanitarian trip to Mexico to take items to the poor. It's a trip Wallin has taken for 15 years.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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