After four failed attempts in the past weeks, Lakeland’s City Council held a meeting Thursday. The special meeting, held at noon, ran for about two hours and was contentious from the start.
Several meetings set for April were canceled for lack of a quorum or because there had been too little notice.
“I’m just glad we were finally able to get some city business done,” said Council Member Joe Paiement. “It could have been worse.”
Paiement and fellow Council Member Shayne Orning skipped past meetings because they opposed the mayor’s pick to fill a vacant council seat. That person, Jon Place, has since withdrawn his application, citing discord on the council and among residents.
The League of Minnesota Cities plans to host a mediation session between Paiement and Mayor Richard Glasgow in mid-May.
About 30 people attended Thursday’s meeting, including H. Alan Kantrud, who serves as the city attorney for Maplewood, Landfall and Birchwood. Resident Julie Thron, one of the people behind a petition calling for an audit of the city, asked Kantrud to observe.
At several points, Kantrud stepped to the podium to correct the mayor on procedural errors and legal standards. He and Thron both expressed concern about the scope of the agenda items and the time of day it was called, which could have limited which residents could attend.
Lakeland’s city attorney, Dave Snyder, did not attend, nor did the city treasurer, who has submitted his resignation.
Most of the discussion was on two agenda items: A road reconstruction project and a variance to allow a homeowner to convert a deck to a bedroom. Both failed with a split 2-2 vote.
The homeowners who applied for the variance, Dale and Sunny Moosai, moved to Lakeland from Stillwater in October.
“It’s just sad to see the council not getting along,” Dale Moosai said. “This is a beautiful city and we were excited to move here.”
Another topic was raised by residents on Thursday: The city once again has two city websites, including one created by Glasgow. The .gov site was taken down in April but recently reactivated by Snyder. “We’re just ready to see things done the right way,” Thron said.