More clarity on Hoiseth's future likely after two July 19 special meetings

Mike Christopherson

The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority Board of Directors, now comprised of Mayor Dale Stainbrook and six Crookston City Council members, held an emergency meeting at 11 a.m. Friday, publicly announced around 9:30 a.m., to put CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth on administrative leave and appoint City Administrator Amy Finch interim executive director of CHEDA.

Finch will serve in that role until a community development director is hired to run the new City-run Community Development Department. It’s part of Finch’s proposal approved 5-3 by the city council last Monday that removes most economic development functions from CHEDA but retains its housing mission. The new path forward also involves Stainbrook and the six council members – not including Tom Vedbraaten and Steve Erickson, council members who served on the previous CHEDA Board – serving on the CHEDA Board, but potentially further down the road appointing some community members to the board, which will focus mostly on housing issues. The City’s primary economic development responsibilities will be carried out by the new Community Development Department. The new plan does not include enough money in the budget to pay the salaries of both a community development director and a CHEDA executive director. Finch said earlier in the week that the job description for the community development director is being formulated and the position will be advertised soon.

At Friday’s emergency meeting, Stainbrook said Finch is the logical choice to serve at the CHEDA helm, and added that she’s been communicating with CHEDA staff, Theresa Tahran and Tiffany Jones, and that things are moving in a positive direction.

More meetings Monday

There should be more clarity sometime Monday evening, July 19, regarding Hoiseth's leave.

The city council will hold a special meeting in the city hall council chambers at 5:30 p.m. Monday to authorize what the council approved on Monday, July 12, regarding six council members and Stainbrook taking over as CHEDA Board members – the members of the previous board were no longer considered board members as of July 13 – and having the power to act on agenda items at a special CHEDA Board member that will immediately follow the July 19 special council meeting. (The council at the special meeting will also authorize their powers as CHEDA Board regarding the regularly scheduled CHEDA Board meeting set for 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 20.)

When the special council meeting is adjourned July 19, the special CHEDA Board meeting will be convened, and will include a closed session, pursuant to state statute, to, according to the agenda, “evaluate the performance of Executive Director Craig Hoiseth to consider potential discipline.” When the meeting goes back into an open session, a summary of conclusions and potential actions will be discussed, the agenda indicates.

“The board will have the opportunity to discuss in closed session and come out to take any action they deem is most appropriate for how they wish to move forward,” Finch explained via email.

Monday’s special meeting also includes the election of CHEDA Board officers, including president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and assistant treasurer.