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Council discusses mailboxes, food vendors, lawsuit, rules and more

Four City Council members, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, and City Administrator Brent Trout met at City Hall Tuesday afternoon and discussed a variety of subjects.|Four City Council members, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, and City Administrator Brent Trout met at City Hall Tuesday afternoon and discussed a variety of subjects.

Don Nelson and Jeff Marsters did not attend; attendance is not required.

Scott Tornquist fulfilled a promise and brought up the concept of the City assuming responsibility for all damaged mailboxes. He said this would take city employees out of the position of inspecting mailboxes for damage if a citizen reported damage from snow plows and then deciding if the city should pay to have it replaced. City employees in attendance said that the current system works fine and they have no problem performing the inspections. Tornquist noted their comments and said he considered the matter discussed and over.

Tornquist then opened discussion on Laborers’ Home Development Corporation (LHDC), an outfit that has shown interest in doing business in Mason City. According to their website, LHDC’s mission is to “develop, manage, and maintain quality, affordable housing in the Midwest Region.” Max Weaver says the group needs “shovel-ready” ground and part of their aim is tax credits. All present determined that a meeting with the group would be a good idea and asked Brent Trout to go about looking into it.

Max Weaver’s first topic of the evening was a discussion on food vendors in East Park during Band Fest weekend, which is run by the Chamber of Commerce. Weaver said he was “lobbying for the local vendors” and asking why there weren’t more local vendors allowed to set up in East Park during Band Fest. One potential vendor in the audience, Troy Levenhagen, who runs Suzie Q Cafe, says the vendors are chosen by a man from LaCrosse Wisconsin. All agreed that more local vendors should be able to participate and do business in East Park during Band Fest, but no one was sure if the City Council has authority to intervene in the matter. Weaver said “We have three months to find out” and asked Brent Trout to look into it. Trout agreed and would produce a report on what he finds out.

Weaver’s next two topics of discussion on the agenda were nearly not included for discussion. Bookmeyer called the items “out of order” and wouldn’t allow them for discussion. Only after Travis Hickey seconded allowing them to be discussed were they finally ok’d.

The discussion items simply said “Retaliation” and “Rule Changes.”

Discussing retaliation, Weaver says there are rumors floating around that he is “out to get” people’s jobs, and he says that’s not the case. He claims he has been approached by people with various information about City Attorney Tom Meyer and how he does his job, and began asking questions about Meyer to Trout and others in City Hall, and was then warned to “watch out” and “be careful” when discussing Meyer.

Weaver later disclosed that he received a call from Brent Trout Tuesday afternoon informing him that Meyer has filed a complaint against him and that Meyer has his own attorney and that there will be some kind of litigation.

Discussing rule changes, Weaver made it clear he doesn’t like the 5 minute time limit imposed on speaking during Council meetings. He also said there will be requests to change how appointments are made to boards and commissions by the Mayor. Janet Solberg says she likes the news rules and especially the “shot clock” Mayor Bookmeyer introduced when he took office. Tornquist said he likes the current rules but doesn’t have a problem discussing them.

Travis Hickey brought forward a discussion of separating the City Attorney position from human resources duties. His idea was to combine the human resources duties with the Human Rights Department, headed by Lionel Foster, who has in the past taken on those duties. Hickey claims the move would save the City potentially thousands of dollars and eliminate potential conflicts of interest. A decision was made to have Trout look into the pro’s and con’s of the move and report back.

Watch video of the meeting:


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