-1.5 C
Friday, March 31, 2023

86% of voters vote to recall Two Harbors mayor

Residents decided to recall controversial Mayor Chris Swanson after seven months of turmoil, ending his almost 6-year tenure in office.

According to an unofficial count of both in-person and absentee votes with 100% of precincts reporting, 86% of voters decided to recall Swanson, with 1,149 voting “yes” to do so and just 180 voting “no” to retain him in office. “Shall Mayor Christopher Swanson be recalled?” was the question that was on the ballot.

On the Secretary of State website, as of 7 a.m., there were 2,215 registered voters in Two Harbors.

Swanson didn’t respond right away to a call or email from the News Tribune requesting a response.

The Resign or Recall Committee’s head, Todd Ronning, declared that the members “couldn’t be happier with the results.”

Ronning told the News Tribune, “Our organization and our neighborhood has been through a lot in the previous six months.

The council president will assume the mayor’s responsibilities in accordance with the Two Harbors City Charter, and a special election will be called at the subsequent general election to serve the balance of Swanson’s term, which expires in January 2025. The head of the council is Ben Redden.

Swanson’s undersea hotel and cryptocurrency endeavors in January served as a catalyst for recall efforts and exposed a number of additional possible conflicts of interest and ethical issues.

Reviews of his conduct revealed that he disregarded prospective interests and broke the city’s code and communications policy.

Swanson was determined to have regularly utilized his official city position “for personal gain or commercial interests,” according to a statement of opinion written by Two Harbors City Attorney Tim Costley in March.

Swanson may not have declared all of his commercial and charity interests prior to appearing before the City Council, the Minnesota Office of the State Auditor discovered in July. In their treatment of the possible conflicts of interest, the City Council and city attorney received support from the auditor’s office.

State Auditor Julie Blaha stated to the News Tribune at the time, “I would say that the actions of the City Council not only safeguarded local individuals’ interests, but also helped protect the mayor, as well.” “The City Council avoided a number of contracts, therefore I believe he averted some issues.”

Even when the City Council voted 6-0 to urge Swanson to retire in June, Swanson said he had done nothing wrong and refused to do so. From mid-June until Monday, when he showed up just nine minutes into the meeting, after the public comment session had concluded, he had missed every regularly scheduled council meeting.

In March, the Resign or Recall Committee started gathering signatures to forward the recall. The petition required 498 signatures, or 20% of the city’s registered voters. Initially, it received roughly 1,000 signatures, 735 of which the city confirmed. However, the committee withdrew their petition after informing individuals their signatures would be confidential but afterwards discovering they would not be. The city confirmed 532 of the 618 signers who participated in the second round of the petition.

Cynthia Kosiak, an organizer and lawyer for the Resign or Recall Committee, stated that it appeared like every person who signed the petition had cast a ballot. Which is not often what occurs.

A lawsuit filed by a Swanson supporter against the city and the recall committee in an effort to overturn the recall was dropped in June. The plaintiff was represented by Swanson’s attorney.

Miranda Pietila, the municipal finance director, stated during the council meeting on Monday that the city spent $35,773 hiring outside counsel to represent itself.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles