In September 2019, John Seehausen was seated as mayor for the City of Morton.
As of Feb. 7, 2020 that term ended, as he formally resigned from that position.
In an open letter, Seehausen explained his reasons for the decision.
What follows are portions of that letter from Seehausen.
“On Sept. 11, 2019, I was seated as mayor of Morton by the Morton city council. The previous mayor had resigned. The prior few years of turbulence in the community resulted in the resignation of a number of councilmen and the city clerk of 37 years.
"Then on Sept. 11, 2019 the existing clerk resigned, leaving the seat vacant when I was seated. The anxiety in the community was very high, the public trust was non-existent and the city office was a mess. Complaints and lawlessness prevailed. I immediately started the repair process by assisting in hiring a new city clerk, identifying methods of training, seeking assistance in accounting, etc.
“I helped to facilitate training sessions for the council with the League of Minnesota Cities. I provided organizational charts, promoted due process, discussed policies and procedures, etc. I worked with law enforcement, reviewed local laws, etc. in an attempt to bring about change and reduce complaints.
“I’ve been met with resistance at every turn by the very people I was trying to help. It has been extremely challenging at best.
“We recently had an open meeting forum provided by the League of Minnesota Cities. The purpose was focused on restoring public trust, due process for decision making, meeting agendas, etc. It was refreshing to have the mayors of Granite Falls and Marshall present to share experiences. It was a good meeting, and the league did a wonderful job.
“One councilman told me during the meeting that he did not believe in public hearings. This occurred while we were discussing the need for including the public in the decision making process and improving public trust.”
According to Seehausen, during that meeting an area city clerk and a city attorney promoted what he called a ridiculous idea to have a two minute time limit for people to speak at council meetings.
“This is at a time when we are trying to restore public trust and encouraging conversation with the public. I couldn’t believe it. I took an oath when I was seated.
“I believe in free speech, and I refuse to be part of regulating or restricting free speech in any way. Our friends and neighbors attend those meetings.”
Seehausen added other mayors he has spoken with feel the same way.
“I refuse to be involved in the insanity going on in town, and I can’t believe it is being perpetuated by those who represent us.
“I would like to thank all the people for the cards, letters and words of support received and all the local people who helped during the transition at city hall.
“Consider this my formal resignation from the position of mayor for the City of Morton effective immediately.”