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Recall Petition: Why some community members want the Two Harbors mayor out of office

Recall Petition: Why some community members want the Two Harbors mayor out of office
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:52 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2022 at 11:42 PM CDT
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TWO HARBORS, MN. (KBJR) - In Two Harbors, Mayor Chris Swanson has faced criticism for months.

“We want our elected officials to maintain a minimum standard of conduct,” said Todd Ronning, a Two Harbors Resident, and Chair of the Resign or Recall Committee.

Ronning claims Swanson has blurred the line between the mayor’s office and his own business interests.

“He can’t wear both his mayor hat and his business hat and exchange them back and forth while holding the mayor’s position,” said Ronning.

That’s among six reasons why Ronning and about 30 other residents decided to create the Resign or Recall Committee.

Cynthia Kosiak is an attorney who’s helping the committee.

She highlighted some of their other allegations.

“The primary one that brought attention to people in the I guess first place at the end of January was this issue of the Festival of Sails coming to light,” said Kosiak.

According to the recall petition, when the mayor voted to authorize a letter of support to host the festival, he allegedly knew one of the companies that already had a contract with the organizer of the event was First Day Events.

“Which was a non-profit that was started by his daughter a month before he brought it to the city council to request that they support the Festival of Sails coming here,” said Kosiak.

Other alleged violations include the Mayor’s involvement with a website called Vibrant Two Harbors and Swanson’s personal business connections with the non-profit, Friends of the Bandshell Park.

And though they’re asking for a recall election, committee members say they’d ultimately like the Mayor to step down.

“Everyone would prefer that he resign, we believe there are just too many conflicts of interests,” said Kosiak.

According to Ronning, the committee is collecting signatures.

To move forward with the recall effort, they need 20% of the registered voters in Two Harbors to sign the petition.

That’s about 450 people.

Committee members say there’s no time frame for when they need those signatures by.

If they meet that 20% threshold, the committee will deliver the signatures to the city administrator to verify.

If they are verified, the administrator presents the matter to the city council.

From there, the mayor has five days to either resign or face a recall election.

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