St. Francis city councilmember LeRoy Schaffer is catching heat for "a pattern of acting on the city's behalf without council sanction." There is a recall election scheduled for December. He's accused of continually misinforming the public, disrespecting the government process, offensive behavior and overstepping bounds.
Mr. Schaffer is an amateur compared to Mayor Bjorn Skogquist.
Consider Skogquist's known short list of doing business independent of full council:
- 2005 Skogquist was declaring "I can't work with this council. . . ." He announced he would be "moving forward to work outside the council with an unofficial facilitation."
- City of Anoka letterhead was used for two secret, invitation-only "visioning meetings" held by Skogquist. City Manager Tim Cruikshank appears to have publically resigned his position at this point declaring, "The mayor can do whatever he wants."
- HRA State legislature debacle. Again with Anoka letterhead, Skogquist lobbied without council sanction or knowledge for his limited self-serving purpose. Who gives him letterhead? Or does he just take it?
- Chinese Garden stuck at the "Keep Out" posted amphitheater. City staff, advisory boards and the rest of council were all kept out of this action.
- Retailer Services. A company in the Industrial Park got a financial benefit afforded no other company on the basis of the Mayor's singular direction, backed by city manager.
- Recent McGowan suit against, not primarily the city, but the Skogquist brothers personally. For Skogquist "using his position as mayor. . ." Schaffer is being recalled, Skogquist's are being sued.
Occassionally, maybe eventually, there are consequences for overstepping bounds.
Beyond these actions, there has been a pattern of retaliation and removal from advisory boards :
- There was a failed attempt to replace Bart Ward at the ACHS with Skogquist's mother.
- Borgie Bonthuis, an early Skogquist supporter, was informed by Skogquist he would be refusing to submit her name for reappointment because Mr. Skogquist didn't like the way she was voting.
- Lisa Rambol, long-time resident, was not reappointed to the EDC by the Skogquist dominated council. She had voiced her opinion about Anoka's overdue need for rental licensing in a letter to the editor. Mimi Doran, wife of the mayor's bartender , non-resident and now beneficiary of the Car Show revenues, got the appointment.
- Bruce Lanes, HRA member, also voiced an opinion about Paul Pierce actions in a letter to the editor. Bye, Bye Bruce, thanks for your service.
And now Ward-based-voting and Erik Skogquist and Aaron Barr?
Anoka has the elements necessary for a bad historic re-enactment of pre-reform machine politics.
Be afraid, Anoka, be very afraid.