Recall City Hall, Red Wing, Minn.

Individuals protesting the city's decision to fire former Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman gather outside of City Hall. 

Petitions to recall six of the seven Red Wing City Council members were circulated over the past few months, arguing that council members had violated Open Meeting Laws. When the petitions were presented to the city, the council decided not to hold any recall elections. Now the Red Wing Recall group has filed with the district court.

George Hintz issued a statement on behalf of the Committee to Recall City Hall:

“The lawsuit to Recall City Hall represents the collective determination of thousands of Red Wing citizens to put a stop to an out of control City Council and Administration, and restore badly needed openness, civility, common sense, and fiscal responsibility to our city.”

The petition submitted to the court states, “A review of the Charter bears this out: once a sufficient number of signatures has been gathered:

‘... the clerical officer shall transmit it to the Council without delay and shall also officially notify the person sought to be recalled of the sufficiency of the petition. and of the pending action. The Council shall, at its next meeting, by resolution provide for filing dates and other provisions necessary for the holding of a special recall election not less than 45 nor more than 60 days after such meeting.’”

The petition also states that the presence of the repeated, directive language in Red Wing City Charter makes it clear that the framers were “aware of the potential for abuse by sitting councilmembers.”

Red Wing City Attorney Amy Mace has told the council and residents that “council members cannot be recalled on the basis that a citizen does not like how they voted on a particular issue. In Minnesota, the standard is malfeasance and nonfeasance, and that's what it says in the city charter and that is based on the Minnesota Constitution, which requires conduct to rise to the level of malfeasance or nonfeasance before an elected official can be recalled.”

The first hearing will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 20. The hearing will be held via Zoom. 

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