The City Of Minot Should Welcome An Outside Review

Over the holiday weekend news broke of yet another defection from the City of Minot’s government. Top planning official Carter Thompson resigned her position and accused city leadership of ethical issues.

That came just weeks after Minot airport manager Andy Solsvig abruptly resigned to “pursue other career opportunities,” and also after a former city attorney was fired under a cloud of accusations.

Responding to the Thompson resignation, Minot City Manager Lee Staab is defending the city’s practices saying that Thompson’s claims of unethical and biased governance are unfounded (see his full press release below).

The problem for Staab and Minot’s other leaders is whether or not they have the public’s trust at this point. Because I’m not sure they do.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]If the City of Minot wants to put citizens at ease about how their city government goes about its business, they need to heed calls for outside review.[/mks_pullquote]

It’s been a rough year so far for Minot area residents. In addition to problems in the city government – which also includes a disastrous downtown parking project and legal battles over ordinance exemptions granted to First Western Bank – there have been other issues as well.

Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski is facing criminal charges over a prisoner who died shortly after a transfer to Burleigh County.

County prosecutor Kelly Ann Dillion is facing DUI charges after being involved in a traffic accident with a blood alcohol reportedly twice the legal limit.

These latter scandals don’t have anything to do with city government, but they do help create an atmosphere of distrust and angst.

Which is probably why Staab’s defense of the city against Thompson’s accusations aren’t likely to get much traction.

If the City of Minot wants to put citizens at ease about how their city government goes about its business, they need to heed calls for outside review.

“There are other lawsuits that are sitting against the city right now and absolutely I think this would be an opportune time to take a good hard look from an outside entity,” local activist and former reporter Shuan Sipma told KX News. “Whether you want to call it an investigation or an audit I don’t know what the proper word would be at this time but obviously there’s cause here.”

Sipma is part of the #MakeMinot movement to downsize the city’s 14-member city council, but that’s really beside the point. Whether you support that effort of not, Minot’s governance needs a thorough review.

We’re past the point where we can just take their word for it.

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Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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