Howard Lake Herald, October 26, 1998

Violation of open meeting law denied by HL city attorney


A closed meeting took place Tuesday, after the regular Howard Lake City Council meeting to discuss possible litigation concerning an alleged violation of the open meeting act by three council members.

The alleged violation involved an agreement by some council members to request the resignation of City Administrator Christina Frankenfield.

Frankenfield told the council, "I was told by the city attorney that I would be terminated this evening, because I didn't sign a resignation agreement made up by three council members."

"Councilman Shelly Reddemann had told people I was going to resign Monday, and people in the city are confused," she said.

"I have not resigned, and I need to know, if I am terminated or not," said Frankenfield.

City Attorney Charles Paschke told Frankenfield there would be discussion on litigation for a possible violation of the open meeting act at a closed meeting following the regular meeting.

Frankenfield said, "If this meeting is about me, I have the right to be there. I want it to be open. I have nothing to hide," she said.

There was no response to her statements.

Later, a closed meeting took place with Mayor Mark Custer, Council members Reddemann, Tom Kutz, Jean Schmidt, Paschke, and another attorney called in by Paschke, Sheila Engelhardt.

Later in the week, Paschke released a statement for the city.

"At my request, the Howard Lake City Council closed the council meeting held on Oct. 20, 1998, to discuss attorney-privileged matters.

"During the meeting, the city administrator stated there had been a violation of the open meeting law, during the previous week.

"In fact, she is in error; official city business was not discussed by a quorum of the council.

"Over the course of the last week or so, a number of different individuals approached the mayor to discuss their concerns regarding a variety of issues.

"Apparently the city administrator thought that a discussion of these concerns between the mayor and these individuals violated the open meeting law. I disagree. There was no violation."

When contacted Wednesday, Frankenfield's attorney, Jim Anderson of Anderson Law Office, Le Sueur, said he had no comment, pleading attorney-client privilege.

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