November 4th, 2009
Alice in Greenfield
Alice had this traumatic childhood, what with going Through the Looking
Glass and falling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. So when Alice grew up
she longed to live in the peaceful quiet countryside, but not too far from
the city. So she bought a home in Greenfield in western Hennepin County.
Little did Alice know that the Queen of Hearts, the "off with their head"
monarch from Wonderland, also moved to Greenfield. She changed her name to
Jill Krout and got herself elected Mayor on the false pretense (after all,
she was a fictional character) that Greenfield would be saner under Mayor
Krout than the former Mayor, Larry Plack. Yes, that Larry Plack that
illegally planted a GPS locator on the car of a former employee.
Even though she changed her name and her wardrobe, Queen Jill still has that
"off with your head" thing going. I believe Greenfield has been through 5
City Managers and is on its 3rd City Attorney in 2 years. And Queen Jill
shouted "Off with their head" three times at the October 15th special
Greenfield City Council meeting.
She accused a City Council member, one of 2 sane votes on the Council, of
"stalking her". But she lacked the authority for "off with his head".
After announcing she had to leave at 7:45 for a meeting that she called at
7:00, Queen Jill refused to take public comment from any of the 50 residents
that attended the meeting. When a resident protested Queen Jill said "off
with his head" and requested a Hennepin County sheriff's deputy to remove
the resident from the meeting. The deputy refused. Queen Jill lacks the
authority to fire the deputy-there are some sane rules outside of
The point of the meeting was to discuss the job description for hiring yet
another City Manager (presuming that anyone qualified would actually want to
work for Queen Jill). When we last visited Greenfield the League of
Minnesota Cities was on the verge of raising the insurance deductible for
Greenfield to $500,000, about ½ their annual budget, due to so many
employment claims. The league said they would give Greenfield a chance if
they hired a qualified City Administrator who would whip Greenfield into
So Jim Willis was hired as an interim City Administrator to help hire his
replacement. And when Mr. Willis carefully crafted the job description and
presented it at the prior City Council meeting, it was quickly rejected by
Queen Jill and her 2 cronies. What was all this fuss about requiring
experience at running a city? Private sector experience is essential-and
doesn't Queen Jill's description fit nicely with her buddy that she wants to
hire for the job?
Jim Willis had enough of this and submitted his resignation with a 2 week
notice on October 9th effective October 26th. But that wasn't soon enough
for Queen Jill to dispose of someone who disagreed with her. "Off with his
head" and the council voted 3-2 (the council ALWAYS votes 3-2) and
terminated Jim Willis effective October 16th.
Poor Alice. She would really like to sell her house in Greenfield and move
someplace saner. How will Queen Jill affect the property value and marketing
time for Alice to sell her house? I wouldn't want to be that appraiser and
have to figure out how to make an adjustment for a "crazy city council".