Public Comment Period Draws Attention

Councilman Todd Jensen's wife and County Commissioner Charlie Meyer allege Mayor Sara Carlson is playing politics with public comment period.  City Attorney Tom Jacobson says muting public comments would be a violation of first amendment rights.  

(Alexandria, MN) For the second time in a row the public comment at the onset of the Alexandria City Council meeting drew a lot of attention.  Tom Chorley covers what took place and other agenda items in the following City Council Report (AUDIO BELOW):

  • More Public Comments fireworks. (Clarification by City Attorney Tom Jacobson below audio)
  • City’s Emergency Ordinance continues.                
  • Truth-In-Taxation December 14th.
  • AAEDC, City and County to agree on CARE dollars distribution.
  • Broadband expansion in Alexandria possible.
  • Updates on street and utility projects.
  • ATCC’S Tact Skills Training Area is moving.
  • City and County to share Toward Zero Deaths program dollars.
  • HRA to loan Workforce Development Dollars to developer.
  • Engineer agreement for 2021 road work approved.
  • Final plats approved.
  • Jaycees sponsor walk October 25th

Alexandria City Attorney Tom Jacobson contacted KXRA/VOA to clarify the topic of censure.  Jacobson says that censure of a councilmember does not apply only to matters occurring during council meetings or with related council business.  He adds that during Monday's public comment period he said that "because most, if not all, of Ms. Merrill’s concerns relate to conduct that allegedly occurred outside of a council meeting, paragraph 2 on page 11 of the council’s Code of Conduct applies."

Jacobson says, "Conduct outside of a council meeting can still lead to censure, but the process takes a different path than when the alleged conduct occurs during a council meeting. Specifically, the censure process for conduct during a council meeting is described in paragraph 1 on page 11 of the Code of Conduct. The censure process for conduct outside a council meeting is described in paragraph 2."