Melbye hopes to have a plan relating to things Stassen needs to work on ready in a couple weeks

    Although a special Crookston City Council meeting has been tentatively scheduled for May 7 for council members to revisit the performance of City Administrator Shannon Stassen and possibly determine his future as a City employee, a discussion at Monday’s council Ways & Means Committee seemed to indicate that May 7 might be too soon to conduct such a meeting.

    That’s most likely because of the fact that although the council conducted a closed session on Jan. 29 and discussed in detail things that they wanted Stassen to improve on, Stassen and the rest of the council were not provided documentation listing those things until last Thursday, when dozens of Stassen supporters attended a special council meeting to discuss his performance and his job status, a meeting that was adjourned immediately after it was convened.

    Mayor Wayne Melbye accepted the blame for the short, awkward meeting, referring back to the Jan. 29 session and confusion and miscommunication involving the meeting minutes from that closed meeting not being transcribed and disseminated to Stassen and the council. As a result, even though the mayor indicated after the Jan. 29 session that Stassen was placed on a “90-day improvement plan,” Stassen had no documents detailing what he needed to improve on until the March 15 special council meeting, which would have been closed to the media and public, too, had he not requested that it be open. The March 15 meeting was held 58 days after the Jan. 29 session.

    So at Monday’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, Ward 5 Council Member Dale Stainbrook asked how Stassen could be on a 90-day improvement plan if he was provided documentation on what to improve on with roughly only 30 days to go in the improvement plan window. Stainbrook said Stassen should be allotted a full 90 days to tackle the items listed on the document.

    To that, Melbye told the council that he’s “working with a consultant” on the matter. “So we can work through these and get realistic results, timing-wise,” he explained. “There are things that can get addressed right away and some that may take some time to develop.”

    Some of the things that might take longer, the mayor specifically noted, including ways council members want Stassen to further his education and administrative expertise through various training and/or certification programs. “I talked to Shannon about it and asked him to weigh in on it, on what we’re maybe lacking, if it’s certain things, and some specific ideas, as far as what type of education, classes, HR (human resources)…whatever it is we need him to do,” Melbye explained. “It’s nothing really short-term, but if we’d done this three years ago, it would have been completed by now.

    “But we can’t look back,” the mayor continued. “We have to look forward.”

    Melbye said he hopes to have a plan in place to present to the council by their next meeting in two weeks.