Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Greenfield: The Wild West

June 24th, 2009
Greenfield: The Wild West

Does your City Council person attend a public meeting and announce that he
is carrying firearms? Was your former Mayor convicted of putting a GPS
tracking device on someone else's car? Have you gone through 4 city
administrators in the last year? Then you must live in Greenfield in
northwest Hennepin County.

Greenfield is primarily rural residential lots, though they do have a small
sewer plant to support their industrial park and a townhome complex that
went in foreclosure. From the Mayor Krout's newsletter: Water and sewer
operations have been losing money for years. Labor accounted for about half
of the operating costs. We need to reduce losses. Council met at 12:01
Monday June 1st to select a vendor to run the water and sewer facilities. We
met at that time to ensure no significant gaps in water and sewer service;
our previous contract expired May 31st. We met at 12:01based on advice from
the city attorney.

The former mayer, Larry Plack, he of the illegal GPS tracking device, is
suing the City of Greenfield and the Current Mayor, Jill Krout for
defamation and libel stemming from comments made during a 2009 city council

In Greenfield most every vote is a 3-2. Including the recent one to hire a
former councilman, Roger Matilla, to serve as yet another City
Administrator-even though there were 60 applicants for the position and
Roger Matilla has no experience in an administrative/municipal role. And
then requested the League of Minnesota Cities recommend that someone to
bring Roger Matilla up to speed in his new job.

The League of Minnesota Cities has noticed all of the legal action from this
small community. From Mayor Krout's recent newletter:

"Our insurance provider raised our deductible from $500 to $200,000 per
occurrence on employment related claims and claims involving current or
former city officials or employees. The insurer is concerned about high
costs of lawsuits involving Greenfield. One lawsuit, related to a 2006
council action, cost $565,053. Our premiums don't come close to covering
costs incurred of $800,000 for the last five years. "

The response from new City Attorney Scott Riggs: "I can't stress this
enough, this has never happened, in any city...ever." He sid that if the
city is dropped by its carrier, it will dirctly impact every taxpayer in
Greenfield. He also said that a high percentage of payouts to one city
increases rates for other communities and would not go unnoticed for long.
The League's motto was to help cities". This comment elicited laugher from
Mayor Krout.

If I was selling property in Greenfield right now I wouldn't be laughing.

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