Joe Meyer was appointed Wednesday, Oct. 16, to the Nisswa City Council.
That seat opened in mid-July after former longtime council member Lenny Hodgson resigned for personal reasons.
Three men applied for the open council seat: Meyer, a lieutenant with the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department; Don Jacobson, who ran in the 2012 election for a council seat; and John Ryan, who retired in August as a Pequot Lakes police officer.
Current council members Tina Foster and Jan Pierce interviewed the three candidates and ranked them for a council decision Wednesday.
Reading from a prepared statement, Foster said the decision to appoint Meyer came with significant concerns related to his friendship with Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor and the mayor’s intent to assign the new council member as liaison to the police department.
“We had a very open discussion with Joe about that issue and gave serious thought to not recommending Joe for that reason,” Foster said. “However, we do believe that Joe is the best overall fit for the city council and in recommending him, urge the mayor to reconsider his intent to appoint Joe as the liaison to the police department until such time as Joe is officially elected to a city council position.”
Meyer will serve for about a year, through 2014. The seat will be on the November 2014 election ballot.
At a council meeting in August, Meyer spoke up on behalf of Taylor after the council had suspended Taylor and then reinstated him, never giving a reason for the suspension.
Foster and Pierce developed a list of ideal characteristics for a council member at this time and a list of interview questions to make the interview process equal for all three candidates.
The characteristics included:
• Independent thinker with no strong ties to council members or department heads that could bias necessary council decisions.
• Experience with the budgeting process.
• Experience managing people.
• Able to get along with others; team player, respectful of other opinions even when there are conflicting opinions.
• Established as an active citizen of Nisswa.
• Time to be active participant with council related activities.
• Able to manage conflict.
In making their recommendation, Foster said she and Pierce took into consideration the current and anticipated projects and agenda items that are in various stages of development in the city.