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City Council again faces a council vacancy

In an on-again, off-again news story, WTIP has been reporting on the election of Carl “Pete” Gresczyk and his decision to decline taking the council seat to which he was elected. In the latest city council packet is a letter from Gresczyk formally announcing that he would not take the council seat.
 
After the election, Gresczyk said he was concerned about a possible financial conflict of interest. His company, G&G Septic, has a contract with the city of Grand Marais to haul sewage sludge to Duluth on a regular basis. He also has a contract with the city for rental of PortaPotties in the city.
 
In WTIP’s last conversation with Gresczyk, on Nov. 16, he thought would be able to take the seat. At that time, Gresczyk said he had documentation from the city’s attorney that stated he could take the seat, as long as he recuses himself from any of the city’s dealings with his company.
 
However, shortly after that, Gresczyk submitted a letter to the city saying he would not take the city council seat to which he was elected. The text of that letter can be seen below.
 
Gresczyk defeated Jonathan Steckelberg who had been appointed to fill a vacancy created when Councilor Tracy Benson moved out of the city and resigned. Steckelberg does not automatically take the new vacant seat, as his appointment was just until the special election could be held.
 
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence checked in with City Administrator Mike Roth to find out how the city council will proceed to fill the vacancy.  Interview below.
 
Letter
 
To whom it may concern,

I was recently elected to the City Council of Grand Marais. Shortly after the election it was brought to my attention that a statute, #471.87, pertaining to a city councilor having a bid contract with the city is illegal. I hold an ongoing bid contract with the City of Grand Marais. Our City Administrator, Mike Roth, worked with the City Attorney to clarify the meaning of the statute. It was determined that we could make it work with some adjustments to how the city council votes. That would put me in a position to open up criticism on my business relationship with the city.

There are many factors in my decision. But at this time I have to put myself, my family and my business as my priority. So it is with great regret I am recusing myself from my recent election to the City Council of Grand Marais.
 
There are many big decisions coming up and our county and city constituents are split on many of these issues. It is important for the citizens to stay involved and let your elected officials know your concerns. Please take the time to contact these people and get your opinion out there. I know I will.
 
Respectfully,
 
Carl “Pete” Gresczyk
 
 

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