TOWER— In a surprise, two members of the Tower City Council announced their resignations this week. Kevin Fitton, who is designated as acting mayor, and Brooke Anderson— both elected in 2016— …
TOWER— In a surprise, two members of the Tower City Council announced their resignations this week. Kevin Fitton, who is designated as acting mayor, and Brooke Anderson— both elected in 2016— made their announcements within a day of each other.
This leaves newly-elected Mayor Orlyn Kringstad, and councilors Steve Abrahamson and Rachel Beldo on the five-member council.
Fitton told the Timberjay that his decision to resign was based on the time demands of the council position, which he was managing in addition to his full-time job and graduate school work.
Fitton is working to complete a doctoral degree in Educational Administration at St. Mary’s University in Winona, and said his graduate school advisor is pressuring him to complete his final research project, which is overdue. Fitton works full-time at the Vermilion Country School, where he serves as administrator and teaches social studies.
Anderson, in a letter to the council, said the decision to resign was “very hard” and she apologized for “letting anyone down.” Anderson said her decision was because of recent health issues.
“I truly love Tower and the people in our small community,” she wrote. “I hope the city council and all the staff can find peace with each other and are able to come together to find a way to keep our town alive.”
Mayor Kringstad said he regrets losing two dedicated members of the council. “The city council serves at the pleasure of the citizens of Tower, but members also have their own family and health commitments to consider,” he said. “I thank them for their service and wish them the best in their future endeavors.”
The openings could alleviate some of the tensions on the council, which has often split on 3-2 votes, with Fitton and Anderson usually voting together. The two have been seen as supporters of embattled City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith and have both voiced concerns about the actions of the newly-elected mayor. Anderson voted in favor of the grievance committee’s decision to uphold a complaint from Clerk Treasurer Linda Keith against the mayor and council, and to have the mayor and council “cease and desist” any investigations into the clerk’s job performance. Fitton raised several comncerns he had with the mayor to the council, in addition to the complaint filed by Ambulance Supervisor Steve Altenburg. The council dismissed Altenburg’s complaint at its April 8 meeting, at which Fitton was absent.
In the past, the council has sought applications for open council seats, followed by candidate interviews and ultimate appointment. Kringstad said he’ll recommend that the council follow that procedure. The two seats would then be on the ballot at the next city general election in November 2020.