Citizens group seeks recall of Wilmar City Council member Ron Christianson
WILLMAR -- A citizens committee has announced it will lead an effort to recall Ward 2 Willmar City Council member Ron Christianson for malfeasance and nonfeasance in office.
WILLMAR - A citizens committee has announced it will lead an effort to recall Ward 2 Willmar City Council member Ron Christianson for malfeasance and nonfeasance in office.
Wayne Nelson, chair of the Recall Ron Committee, made the announcement during the open forum portion of Monday night’s council meeting. The meeting was attended by about 70 citizens.
Before Nelson and other committee members spoke, Mayor Marv Calvin said the council would take citizens’ input and comments, but would not take any action on what was presented.
Christianson, along with the council’s other seven members, listened and sat quietly while committee members spoke, and no council members addressed the planned recall effort during the remainder of the 90-minute meeting.
In his presentation, Nelson requested time at the May 18 council meeting to formally present a certificate of intent to recall Christianson.
Related story: City of WIllmar Charter: The recall process
Christianson, 64, is co-owner of a Willmar construction company and has represented Ward 2 since 1994.
He was re-elected in the Nov. 4, 2014, general election to a sixth four-year term.
Nelson did not cite reasons for malfeasance and nonfeasance. But Nelson said the certificate will identify the reasons.
Nelson told the council that the committee has reviewed the charter’s recall provisions “and it is our intent to honor the process outlined by the Charter Commission.’’
“We are prepared to execute our plan and walk through this process,’’ Nelson said.
The committee’s website, RecallRon.org, said malfeasance - citing Merriam-Webster Dictionary - is wrongdoing or misconduct especially by a public official.
Using the same citation, the website said nonfeasance is failure to act; especially failure to do what ought to be done.
Christianson concerns Committee member and Ward 2 resident Aaron Welch said he will be collecting stories about inappropriate action or acts of retaliation on the part of Christianson.
Welch said he wants to hear from emergency responders who worked the morning of Jan. 15 when, during a gas leak at the intersection of 15th Street and 15th Avenue Southwest, Christianson “drove through a restricted area, endangering people’s lives and damage to property … ’’
Fire Chief Gary Hendrickson was sitting in his official fire department pickup truck, with engine running and lights flashing, when Christianson drove between the fire chief’s pickup and a backhoe that was digging in the boulevard, Hendrickson told the Tribune in an April 20 interview. Hendrickson said Christianson turned left onto 15th Street, then turned right into the parking lot of First Reformed Church.
The Willmar Police Department investigated and Christianson was issued a written warning by Sgt. Michael Markkanen, according to Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt.
Welch said he also wants to hear “if someone applied pressure to you so you would stop doing business with a company because employees or the owner voiced opposition to council member Ron Christianson, or if it was suggested your employment be terminated because you voiced opposition to council member Ron Christianson.’’
In an interview prior to the council meeting, Nelson said the committee has been working on this effort for about the past month and decided the time was right to do it.
City of WIllmar Charter: The recall processCity of WIllmar Charter: The recall process