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Editorial: Willmar needs a mayor who leads

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

 When is Mayor Frank Yanish going to stop acting like a grumpy old man and become a leader in Willmar? That is a major question for Yanish and something the citizens of Willmar should be concerned about.

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 A community visioning effort called Vision 2040 is hoping to follow the Vision 2020 effort at the turn of century, which developed a 20-year consensus priority plan for the Kandiyohi County and Willmar community. The current group includes 10 major stakeholders within our community, such as the city of Willmar, Kandiyohi County, Ridgewater College, Rice Hospital, Willmar Public Schools, Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and others.

 The group had its organizational meeting on Feb. 12.

 Then Feb. 19, Yanish at the City Council meeting criticized Vision 2040 for not having a leader yet and not having minutes completed. The mayor concluded by calling the group “a little dysfunctional.”

 Willmar City Council member Bruce DeBlieck asked Yanish to explain his comment. Yanish said he did not think he needed to explain himself.

 Frankly, the only thing that seems to growing more dysfunctional lately is the mayor himself.

 Yanish is not providing good leadership for this city and is a significant part of the growing negative perception of this mayor and the Willmar City Council.

 Over the past year:

 • Yanish has had a disagreement with another public official as he was not happy with a specific response.

 • Yanish has lost awareness of agenda order on occasions at City Council meetings and needs reminding by the acting nayor and/or staff concerning proper procedure.

 • Yanish took offense at criticism from a community group seeking to improve the City Council leadership and organization and encouraging a city organizational study.

 • Yanish declined to reappoint a long-term Municipal Utilities leader in January. This was after the leader participated in the community group that raised concerns about the mayor and the City Council.

 • Yanish has chosen not to be involved in the Vision 2040 community visioning effort.

 So Willmar now has a mayor who holds petty grudges, enjoys criticizing major stakeholders within the city, does not seek to participate in community leadership efforts and tends to seek retribution if you or your organization disagrees with him.

 Is that good leadership? We do not think so and neither do many in this community. This is a growing problem for Yanish and the city of Willmar.

 This city needs a mayor that leads, not one that acts like a grumpy old man.

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