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Carlos mayor resigns

Dan Plowman

Carlos Mayor Dan Plowman is resigning, with more than five months left on his term.

In a letter of resignation — submitted to the Carlos clerk/treasurer on Thursday, July 19 — Plowman said that effective immediately, he would no longer act as mayor.

Plowman, who was elected in 2016, cited several reasons for his decision. He said the council has publicly aired issues involving city employees at its regular meetings, an action that he described as "unprofessional and unethical."

He said that a council member also accused him of unethical behavior in two prior meetings.

One of the incidents, Plowman said, was a "misunderstanding that could have been solved with a simple phone call," but a council member, who Plowman did not name, chose to make the accusation at a public meeting.

The other incident was during a contract meeting when Plowman said he showed the council a way to get affordable health insurance for a city employee at no additional cost to the city. Plowman said two council members responded with "wildly inaccurate figures that were made-up and unprovable" and they accused him of trying to "rear end" the city.

"It has become apparent to me that the views and values of the council and myself are too far apart for me to continue to be a productive member of the leadership team in Carlos," Plowman said in his letter. "As such, it is with great regret that I tender my resignation effective immediately."

Carlos Clerk John Rolf told the Echo Press that the city is consulting with the League of Minnesota Cities to determine the next step in the process.

He said the council can't formally accept Plowman's resignation until its next meeting in August. The date of the meeting hasn't been set yet because the council wants to make sure there is a quorum, Rolf said, adding that the date will be posted on the city's website.

In the meantime, Rolf said city officials want to make sure the process doesn't get bogged down.

"Our main concern is the 500 residents of Carlos," he said.

The clerk declined to respond to the details in Plowman's letter.

"He is entitled to his opinion," Rolf said.

In his letter, Plowman thanked Rolf, saying his efforts for the city have been an "asset beyond measure." He also thanked council member Teresa Zwieg for not participating in any of the "personal rancor that has occurred."

When contacted by the Echo Press, Carlos council member Maria Doucette said she read the letter but that it wouldn't be appropriate for her to talk in detail about Plowman's statements because the contract meeting was private, not public.

"What it comes down to is that he (Plowman) is friends with the city employee and there were varying opinions from the rest of the council that didn't think it was fair, Doucette said. "But he was not willing to listen to us."

In her opinion, Plowman's letter wasn't appropriate because it contained private information. She said it appeared the letter was "written out of rage."

Doucette said it's possible that Plowman, whose term expires on Jan. 1, could change his mind and try to take his position back. The filing period for city offices opens on July 31 and runs through Aug. 14.

The three other Carlos council members — Zwieg, Todd Burgess and Ronna Berghoff — did not return calls as of Monday afternoon.

Letter of resignation

Effective immediately, I will no longer act as the mayor of the City of Carlos. Over the course of the last week, I have reflected on several incidences that have given me pause. First, I had given the council instructions at the beginning of the term last year to not publicly air issues involving employees and/or their actions, but this has never been observed. The council has chosen instead to use our regular meetings as a forum to air these issues in public, an action that I find unprofessional and unethical.

Twice I have been accused of unethical behavior myself, once in public for a misunderstanding that could have been solved with a simple phone call, but again the council member chose the forum of a public meeting to make the accusation. The second is more concerning to me. At a contract meeting, I showed the council how to get the employee affordable health insurance at no additional cost to the city and no future financial consequences. Two of the members responded with wildly inaccurate figures that were made up and unprovable, and accused me of trying to "rear end" the city. The result of which is that the city was willing to pay $600 more this year in order to keep the employee from getting insurance at a greatly reduced cost without a single valid reason to not do it. If the action is beneficial to both sides and there are no financial repercussions, why would you not do it? To me, this displays a personal prejudice against the employee.

It has become apparent to me that the views and values of the council and myself are too far apart for me to continue to be productive member of the leadership team in Carlos. As such, it is with regret that I tender my resignation effective immediately. I would like to thank our City Clerk John Rolf, whose efforts in our city have been an asset beyond measure. I would also like to thank council woman Teresa Zwieg for not participating in any of the personal rancor that has occurred.

With regards, Dan Plowman

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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