My first clue should have been that the meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m. on a Friday.
Somewhere in the past, I read that if you're going to fire someone, you should do it late on Friday so they have the weekend to get over it.
Still, when the Red Wing City Council gaveled its meeting to order about the same time most folks are ordering that first round at happy hour, I still thought this was going to end up being a slap on the wrist for then-Police Chief Roger Pohlman.
Man, I can be dumb sometimes.
My 75 Minutes of Terror
When NASA has to wait to find out if their lander survived the descent to Mars, they call it the "seven minutes of terror." Yeah, rocket scientists, I feel your pain.
After logging into the meeting, my computer hiccupped and I had to re-request entry, but the city council was already in closed session, so for about 75 minutes, I wasn't sure if I'd missed the whole show or was just waiting in a slow queue to get back into the meeting. Turns out it was the latter.
Immediately upon return, the city council voted to provide Pohlman with a letter of discipline. They all voted, it was 6-1. They voted to close the meeting, and that's all that was said.
I fired off an email to City Administrator Kay Kuhlmann asking for some sort of explanation or a copy of the letter.
For The Love of Sequels
Letter of discipline? Honestly, it sounded like they'd just slapped him on the wrist.
Still, in for a penny, in for a pound. So, when Kuhlmann said I'd have something shortly, I waited. And I waited. Then I waited some more.
About an hour later I got the real news. The city council had fired Pohlman. The tentative version of my story stating he'd been disciplined needed to be rewritten, and about 8 p.m., I had my final version of the story.
But the story isn't done yet. You got an update on Tuesday. I'm waiting for documents from the city that will reveal more of the details that went into the council's decision. I anticipate sequels here.
And, as we all know, sequels can be great. Just ask Dante and his love of "The Empire Strikes Back."
Regional Reporter Brian Todd covers Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona and Houston counties along with some cities in Olmsted County. In the After Deadline column every Thursday, he shares behind-the-scenes tales from the newsroom.