Mayor’s annual appointments ruffles feathers

Jennifer Mevissen
Staff Writer

Mayor Chris Johnson’s goal in his annual appointments was to accommodate all requests of the council members as well as provide all of them with new exposure to different facets of the city.

But not everything he put forward at the Monday, Jan. 23 Forest Lake City Council meeting went over too well.

Councilwoman Jackie McNamara said she’d like to remain on the finance committee. The mayor delegated that duty in 2012 to Councilman Jim DuFour.

“I did give a fair amount of thought on that one and I’m sticking with my original nomination,” Johnson told her.

McNamara found Johnson’s appointment to be very unprofessional, noting all of the time she had put in. McNamara has served on the three-person committee since it was formed in January 2010.

“I appreciate the input but that’s my nomination,” Johnson said.

He also proposed appointing DuFour to serve on the Forest Lake Cable Commission instead of McNamara, and that also ruffled her feathers.

“I’d really like to stay on that for this next year,” she said.

Johnson had nominated McNamara to take DuFour’s place on the Forest Lake Airport Commission, but he conceded and agreed to have DuFour continue in that role which allows McNamara to remain on the cable commission.


The following are appointments to boards and commissions for 2012:

•Airport commission members re-appointed – Sam Husnik, David DeLong and DuFour. The terms for Rick Ashbach and Donald L. Shipp expired Jan. 30, 2013.

•Cable commission members yearly appointments – Dave Povolny (Columbus mayor), Steve Brunsberg (Columbus), Anne Hurlbert (Scandia City Administrator), John LaNasa (Scandia) and McNamara. Former commission members Sarah Chatwin was hired to be the access coordinator at LATV, so Johnson nominated Jeff Klein from Forest Lake to fill her slot.

•Forest Lake Civil Service Commission members re-appointed – Bob Holden and DuFour. Terms expire for Jim Trudeau and Ken Urquardt Dec. 31, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2013, respectively.

•Forest Lazke Economic Development Authority was expanded from five to seven members. The mayor nominated Blake Roberts and Mark Finnemann to fill the two new vacancies. Terms expire for Robert Morehead (Dec. 31, 2015), Judy Huntosh (Dec. 31, 2013), Mike Muske (Dec. 31, 2014), Johnson (Dec. 31, 2013) and McNamara (Dec. 31, 2012).

•The mayor will replace McNamara on the park board. He nominated Shauna Johnson (no relation) and Matt Elvehjem; Ted Henrichs and Kris Martin terms expired Dec. 21, 2011. Terms expire for Karen Morehead (Dec. 31, 2012), Anthony Groff (Dec. 31, 2012), Patrick Olson (Dec. 31, 2012), Diane Rueb (Dec. 31, 2013) and Matt Lindholm (Dec. 31, 2013).

•Planning commission members re-appointed – Richard Damchik, Paul Girard, Craig Anderson, Stephen Cunningham and Councilman Freer. Terms expire for Ed Eigner (Jan. 31, 2013), William Loushine (Jan. 31, 2013), Kathy Kuehn (Jan. 31, 2014), Margaret Vogel-Martin (Jan. 31, 2014) and Julie La Fleur (Jan. 31, 2014).

•Freer was re-appointed to the Forest Lake Joint Fire Board. DuFour will replace Councilwoman Susan Young. Also serving are Povolny, Jeff Duraine (Columbus City Council) and Elizabeth Mursko (Columbus City Administrator) and Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius.

•Young was re-appointed to the human rights commission. Terms expire for Janice Ochs (March 2014), Dawn Nelson (March 2014), William Anderson (March 2014), Joe Radatz (March 2014), Emmanuel Boh (March 2013), Melissa Moris (March 2012) and Judy Bull (March 2012).

•DuFour and Freer replace Johnson and McNamara on the lake improvement committee. Other members are Mike Tate, public works director; Chantal Doriott, deputy city clerk; Doug Thomas, Forest Lake-Comfort Lake Watershed District administrator; Doug Ramseth, Clear Lake Association; Blake Roberts, Forest Lake Association; and Steve Schmaltz.

•Johnson will replace McNamara on the senior citizens board. The two-year terms are for 2010-2012 for other members: Louise Dumire, Mary Erkenbrack, Esther Allen, Cynthia Duchatschek, Joan Grun, Elsie Jasinski, Vicki Nelson, Ronald Reeder and David Wiley.

•Young was re-appointed to the personnel committee and Freer will replace DuFour.


Johnson also nominated city council members to act as liaisons. He did some shuffling around with these appointments: Councilwoman Young to the Forest Lake Area Athletic Association Board to replace DuFour; Young is being replaced by Freer to ISD 831; and Young replaces Johnson to the Tri-County Interstate 35 Task Force. Continuing with their capacities are: Johnson to the watershed district; Young to both the light rail and TH-97 task forces; and DuFour to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community.

In Johnson’s absence, Young will serve as acting mayor.

He also appointed Freer to the board at YMCA-Chain of Lakes. Johnson said the director of the Lino Lakes facility reached out and asked to have a council liaison. He noted that appointments to a historical commission will come later once the group has been formally organized and should choose to seek commission status.