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Editorial: A failure of leadership on Willmar City Council

"Knucklehead definition: fool, idiot" -- Dictionary.com There is a failure of leadership on the Willmar City Council and its Labor Relations Committee. Neither the chairman nor any member of the City Council has spoken up to apologize for the uni...

“Knucklehead definition: fool, idiot”

- Dictionary.com

There is a failure of leadership on the Willmar City Council and its Labor Relations Committee. Neither the chairman nor any member of the City Council has spoken up to apologize for the unidentified “idiot” commenter insulting a city resident at the May 13 meeting.

As Willmar resident Steve Gardner rose May 13 to speak at the Labor Relations Committee meeting, an unidentified Willmar City Council member can be heard on the recorded audio saying “Oh, great … Listen to this idiot.”

There are several examples of leadership failures on this issue.

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First, this unidentified “idiot” commenter who actually made the comment at the Labor Relations Committee meeting still has not apologized privately or publicly to Mr. Gardner.

His failure is also harming the reputation of other council members. We know this “idiot” commenter was not council members Audrey Nelsen or Steve Ahmann, which leaves six others.

Second, Labor Relations Committee Chairman Ahmann failed at the May 18 council meeting to apologize on behalf of his committee or admonish other council members that such disparaging comments are inappropriate and should not happen.

Third, Ahmann failed a second time at the Labor Relation Committee’s May 27 meeting to apologize on behalf of his committee or again to admonish Labor Relations Committee members on his committee that disparaging comments are inappropriate.

Fourth, City Council member Ron Christianson and his supporters have criticized a city resident for calling City Council members “knuckleheads” in a 2012 email.

Yet Christianson has not apologized himself or spoken out against the unidentified council member calling a city resident an “idiot.”

Civic civility in this city applies for council members and city residents.

The one Willmar leader stepping up on this civility issue is Mayor Marv Calvin, who has apologized on behalf of the mayor’s office for the “idiot” comment. Kudos to Calvin for doing the right thing.

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The lack of an apology by Ahmann and/or other City Council members on this issue is a failure of leadership.

Related Topics: WILLMAR CITY COUNCIL
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