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Crosslake mayor, council member meets with unapproved municipal attorney

In a letter read to the Crosslake City Council Monday night, Dec. 10, city administrator Tom Swenson reported that mayor Darrell Schneider and council member John Moengen were meeting with local attorney Brad Person.

The council has not authorized Person as a city attorney. Currently, Michael Couri serves as appointed city attorney.

Swenson’s letter, which was also a letter of resignation, stated that the mayor told Swenson that Person was drafting an employment benefit agreement for Swenson’s retirement. Swenson said Moengen and Schneider stated there was no bill for the work.

Council member-elect Mark Wessels has said in phone interviews that the new council will switch attorneys in 2013, but the subject has not been discussed at any recent council meetings.

In a phone interview, Person said he has met with the Schneider, Moengen, Wessels and council member-elect Gary Heacox, but only in groups of two.

Person said he had been in contact with the mayor for years, and that the mayor frequently bounced questions off Person because of his work in municipal law.

“It was pretty informal,” Person said. “They are thinking of changing city attorneys, that was the reason for the meeting.”

“I’m not billing them, I have no role in the city of Crosslake right now, I just might in a month,” Person said.

Swenson stated in his letter that he questioned using Person for legal work because Person is not council authorized.