Citing a desire to help heal her city, Greenfield Mayor Jill Krout unexpectedly resigned Tuesday night before the start of the regular City Council meeting.
The move stunned a standing-room-only audience of about 300 that packed the city public works garage, most of whom had come to urge Krout and the other two members of the council majority to resign.
Calls for their resignations have grown in recent days after the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust cut off most of Greenfield's insurance, in large part because of actions taken by Krout and Council Members Mark Lee and Howard Veldhuizen.
"After serious deliberation, I have made the tough decision to resign as mayor of Greenfield," Krout told the audience. "I ask God to bless each and every one of you, friend and foe alike."
After a momentary pause, the audience erupted in cheers. After Krout detailed some of her accomplishments, and some of her frustrations, she simply walked out of the building.
Almost immediately the bickering resumed as council members and then audience members tried to speak at once. "Shut up," one audience member said. "You shut up," another replied. "Here we go ..." muttered a third.
Once calm was restored, Veldhuizen assumed the role of acting mayor.
"This is a surprise," he said of Krout's resignation. "It's kind of a shock."
Then Veldhuizen made a motion to bring back Jim Willis, the acting city administrator that Krout had fired last month, triggering the latest crisis and leading to the loss of insurance converage.
"I think the city needs to heal," Veldhuizen said about his motion, which was approved by a 4-0 vote.