Our View: Kasson City Council needs to provide answers

Kasson residents deserve answers.

As three newly elected Kasson City Council members voted Wednesday to rush City Administrator Randy Lenth out the door, they remained fairly tight-lipped, even with their council counterparts.

Council members Chuck Coleman and Dan Eggler — the only two members with actual experience working directly with Lenth — asked the newly elected council members for answers regarding the sudden decision and what might follow. Council member Coy Borgstrom — who initially proposed Lenth's firing — said he wants to move in a different direction but failed to clarify the direction. He later said the city will move forward, and a replacement will be found.

The comments remain vague. "We're just planning on moving in a different direction, and that's it," new Mayor Steve Johnson said the next day.

That leaves the people who elected the council with too many questions. Johnson ,Borgstrom and council member Doug Buck need to remember they are in public office, which means serving the public. Serving requires a certain level of transparency and communication.


Unfortunately, the three city officials aren't breaking new ground. It's a repeat of the Pine Island firing of Abraham Algadi, when newly elected council members acted quickly for change. The difference is those council members were at least willing to provide a reason. "It's time for department heads to get their feet off the desk," council member Nick Novak said at the time, noting the move was a cost-saving measure.

The same reasoning was provided two years earlier, when newly elected Wabasha County officials decided to cut the county administrator position.

With a severance check worth more than $160,000 cut last week and stated plans to fill the position, the move in Kasson doesn't appear to be an effort to cut costs.

Lenth, who has been equally as quiet regarding potential motivations for his termination, compared his position to that of a coach being handed a pink slip at the end of a season. The problem with that analogy is there's a chance to rebuild between seasons in sports. Kasson is now faced with an active game schedule and no coach. Additionally, it has three rookie players who seem unclear in what they want in a coach.

Granted, they may be calling plays out of a well-defined playbook. They could have a plan to shepherd the city through a time without a city administrator, but the people who elected them don't know what it is.

We understand the city administrator works at the will of the council. We just don't understand why the new council members didn't offer Lenth a chance to do their will.

It's a question that seems to leave some Kasson residents with questions as well. And, as voters, they deserve more than unanswered questions from their elected officials.

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