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Huebner censured by Menahga City Council

The censure stems from Huebner’s misconduct from Oct. 2021 through March 2022.

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Menahga City Hall
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise
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The Menahga City Council censured Art Huebner at Monday’s meeting.

The resolution passed 3-1, with Huebner opposed and council member Robyn Keranen absent.

The censure stems from Huebner’s misconduct from Oct. 2021 through March 2022.

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Art Huebner
Enterprise file photo

The resolution states that on Oct. 20, 2021 Huebner “exceeded his authority by attempting to call a special meeting to order when he had no authority to do so and there was not a quorum of the council present.”

It further states Huebner misused the city-owned laptop by repeatedly playing the online game “Farmville” from Oct. 2021 through Feb. 2022, which “created several security alerts to our city email.”

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In addition, “Councilor Huebner has used his position to harass and belittle city employees, specifically: 1) insults city employees by calling them names and sneering/chuckling when the employees attempt to speak; 2) sends derogatory emails demanding employees follow his directives; 3) criticizes employees for any failure to comply with his demands.”

The resolution continues, stating Huebner has undermined actions taken by the city council and “has failed to contribute to a supportive, respectful and non-threatening work environment.”

The city council “disapproves and condemns” Huebner’s conduct. They “disclaim any duty to defend or indemnify councilor Huebner for such unauthorized conduct or any liability or responsibility for claims” that may arise.

As a result of the censure, Huebner is prohibited from any city committee, liaison or representative role.

Huebner is also directed to not make any communication as a city council member directly with city employees, city elected officials or third parties that violate the city’s statement of values and its code of conduct.

The council first held preliminary consideration of these allegations on March 28. A public hearing followed on April 11 after determining Huebner had violated the code of conduct.

Interim City Administrator Betty Thomsen explained this resolution was attorney-client privilege; therefore, it could not be disclosed until the point at which the council was ready to take action on it.

Another allegation

At the May 9 meeting, the council also considered another allegation against Huebner.

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Huebner opted to have preliminary consideration of this complaint closed to the public.

When the meeting reopened, Olson reported the council determined that the April 12 and April 15 complaints constitute a violation in code of conduct. The allegations were deemed “factual,” “sufficient” and “lodged in good faith, not for impermissible purposes such as delay,” per instructions from legal counsel.

A motion stating there were sufficient claims of misconduct passed 3-1. Again, Huebner was opposed.

A public hearing on the matter will be held Tuesday, May 31.

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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