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City Council members Baird, Fee thanked, wished well

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Crookston City Council members Bobby Baird and Jake Fee, each elected in 2016, participated in their final council meeting last week, and were recognized with “Certificates of Appreciation” from the City of Crookston, presented to them by Mayor Dale Stainbrook.

    Baird, one of two at-large council members, was defeated in the 2020 election on Nov. 3 by Wayne Melbye. Fee, who represents Ward 1, was defeated by Kristie Jerde. Melbye and Jerde will be sworn in at a special council meeting on Monday, Jan. 4.

    Both outgoing council members were praised near the conclusion of this week’s council meeting by just about everyone in the council chambers, even those whom they’d clashed with from time to time over the past four years.

    “I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but around this table and especially with you two, you always want what’s best for Crookston,” Stainbrook said.

    Ward 3 Council Member Clayton Briggs, who often disagreed with Baird and Fee, said that even though they strongly disagreed from time to time, it was never about a lack of respect, and that it was an “honor” to work with both council members.

    New City Administrator Amy Finch, noting that she only had an opportunity to work with Baird and Fee for a couple months, spoke highly of their commitment to serve, adding that it’s not easy as an elected official to take such public stands on various issues that might not be seen as popular by many.

    Fee, perhaps the council member who was most excited by Finch’s hiring, said he thinks the City is in the “right hands” with Finch as administrator. Among the others he expressed gratitude to was Angel Weasner, the City finance director for the past 8 1/2 years who is leaving in January to become city administrator in Park Rapids. Weasner spent most of 2020 as interim city administrator before Finch was hired.

    “Thanks to Angel, especially for the past year or so of her doing just about everything,” Fee said.

    Making his remarks while individually thanking just about everyone in the room, Baird had to pause to collect himself.

    “I get emotional, I know,” he said.

    Baird said his four years on the council were great and that he’s learned a lot.

    “We got a lot of good people in this town,” he said. “…We had our ups and downs but this is Crookston, we all stand behind it and work together, even if we have to gnash our teeth.”

    Baird said Monday nights will be different going forward without council meetings to attend.

    “It’s a new adventure, but I’m glad,” he said. “Thank you everyone for everything.”

At Large Crookston City Council member Bobby Baird shakes Mayor Dale Stainbrook’s hand after Stainbrook read a City of Crookston “Certificate of Appreciation” he presented to Baird for his service on the council since 2016. At the council’s first meeting in January, Wayne Melbye, new at large council member, and Kristie Jerde, new Ward 1 council member, will be sworn in.
Ward 1 council member Jake Fee looks on as Stainbrook reads the Certificate of Appreciation being presented to him at this week’s council meeting for his service on the council since 2016. At the council’s first meeting in January, Wayne Melbye, new at large council member, and Kristie Jerde, new Ward 1 council member, will be sworn in.