Closed session lasted around 90 minutes Tuesday night in city hall conference room.
City Administrator Shannon Stassen, presiding Mayor Dale Stainbrook and the rest of the Crookston City Council were all tight-lipped after a closed-door performance evaluation of Stassen Tuesday night at city hall, an evaluation requested by Stassen himself.
The evaluation, closed to the public and media in accordance with state statutes, lasted around 90 minutes. It came on the heels of a series of emails that Stassen sent to the council beginning on Nov. 1 that laid out a long list of accusations aimed at CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth. The Times obtained several of the emails on Saturday, Nov. 9 and, after submitting a public information records request for additional emails, received more information on Nov. 12 and is currently evaluating those emails.
At the end of one of the emails, Stassen states that if Hoiseth isn't removed by the council and if CHEDA isn't reformed, then he wants a separation agreement because he can no longer tolerate the current situation.
The closed-door performance evaluation occurred in the main floor conference room at city hall. Afterward, while putting his coat on in his office, when asked by the Times if he had any comment on the session, Stassen said he did not. As he left he told assembled City staff members who had waited out the session in the lobby that he would see them tomorrow.
Talking to the Times in the conference room afterward, Stainbrook, the Ward 5 council member and vice-mayor who is serving as mayor in the wake of Guy Martin's sudden resignation earlier this fall, said of the session that "we talked about a lot of issues."
Ward 3 Council Member Clayton Briggs, currently in Texas, participated in the closed-door session via phone conference. Stainbrook said that when Briggs returns to Crookston next week that "we'll convene again and go from there." Asked if he'd characterize the discussion with Stassen during the evaluation as "productive and constructive," Stainbrook said he would.
Asked if he or the council feel that some sort of action needs to be taken given the ultimatum Stassen leveled in his email, Stainbrook said he had no comment. Outside of city hall moments later, Ward 1 Council Member deferred any comments on the session to Stainbrook. Asked if it was his understanding that the council would revisit the matter when Briggs is back in town, as Stainbrook had told the Times, Fee said, "If that's what he said, then yes."
In addition to stating his side of the story to the Times on Saturday regarding the list of accusations leveled at him by Stassen and stating that the accusations are unfortunate and that he wants to continue to do the work that "makes Crookston better," Hoiseth also said that it's his understanding that he cannot be terminated by the council. Only the CHEDA Board of Directors can end his employment, Hoiseth said. "I serve at the board's will," he said Saturday.
Hoiseth was out of town Tuesday and did not attend the council or Ways & Means Committee meetings.