RED WING — Echoing its actions from May 24, the Red Wing City Council again voted Monday night against holding a special recall election for members of the city council.

On a 6-1 vote, with Council Member Kim Beise voting against the motion, the city council voted to decline setting an election for the recall of council members Erin Buss and Evan Brown.

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The vote was preceded by more than a dozen people speaking either for or against the recall.

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Most individuals against the recall stood up to express their appreciation for the work done by the city council and the elected members of the body. They also talked about how the recall effort was working as a way to cancel their votes which elected those members.

Catherine Friend, who said she was disappointed the recall effort continues, said, "Because a group of residents did not like the results of the city council election, it seems they’re trying to overturn the results by spreading disinformation by making false claims and by (convicing others) to sign the petitions."

Another opponent of the recall, Terese Bjornstad, called out Mayor Mike Wilson for "fanning division" in a recent story in the Red Wing newspaper. Bjornstad said she hoped Wilson would stand up to the recall committee and use his platform to encourage the recall committee to end its efforts.

Stacy Devries said the recall was taking up too much time and energy from the city council and city staff, which could be better spending its time helping people who are suffering in Red Wing.

A group Red Wing residents, may part of the Recall City Hall committee, wait for the Red Wing City Council meeting to begin Monday, June 14, 2021. The Red Wing City Council voted 6-1 not to set a recall election. (Brian Todd/btodd@postbulletin.com)
A group Red Wing residents, may part of the Recall City Hall committee, wait for the Red Wing City Council meeting to begin Monday, June 14, 2021. The Red Wing City Council voted 6-1 not to set a recall election. (Brian Todd/btodd@postbulletin.com)

On the other side, Angela McGuire said she had voted for Evan Brown, but later found it "heartbreaking to hear about the removal of Chief Pohlman."

McGuire chastised the city council for firing a police chief who had a good "reputation across the county and across the state," adding that the process of Pohlman's firing included a "lot of closed doors and secret meetings.”

Jason Snyder also commented on a lack of transparency regarding Pohlman's firing, saying the council has never explained what Pohlman did or what rules set down by the city council he broke that warranted firing.

A Red Wing resident speaks about the recall effort during the Red Wing City Council meeting Monday, June 14, 2021, in Red Wing. (Brian Todd/btodd@postbulletin.com)
A Red Wing resident speaks about the recall effort during the Red Wing City Council meeting Monday, June 14, 2021, in Red Wing. (Brian Todd/btodd@postbulletin.com)

"Look what you’ve done to this community," Snyder said. "All you had to do was hold the meeting in public."

Recall City Hall committee leader George Hintz told the city council that voting not to hold an election would eventually end in litigation against the city.

George Hintz
George Hintz

"This will be a legal battle that we will fight and win in the courts," Hintz said.


What happened? The Red Wing City Council voted 6-1 against setting a date for a special recall election for council members Evan Brown and Erin Buss. The city council held an identical vote May 24, deciding not to hold a special recall election for council members Andy Klitzke, Laurel Stinson and Becky Norton.

Why does this matter? The Recall City Hall committee has collected enough valid signatures to recall five of the seven city council members in Red Wing. However, the city holds the position that the justification for the recall does not meet the state's legal standard of malfeasance or nonfeasance.

What's next? The recall committee is waiting on the results of efforts to recall Council Member Dean Hove. Once a determination is made on Hove, the committee will likely take its case for a recall to court.