WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 11, 2011, 08:30 AM

Frustrated residents start a petition to end the City Administrator position

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - The ongoing controversy surrounding the city administrator in Valley City is taking a new twist: A petition to end the position. Three frustrated residents are urging taxpayers to get onboard with them to put a stop to what's being called a case of small town politics.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Supporters of this petition argue the city administrator job is useless. Before it, the job duties were divided. That 74,000 dollar a year salary instead could go elsewhere like fixing roads.

BRIAN MINDT – Petitioner: “There used to be a lot of peace and harmony.”

Brian Mindt is known for rebuilding bikes, but now his claim to fame may be restoring local government.

BRIAN MINDT – Petitioner: “A lot of bureaucracy going on, small town politics. It more cushions the good old boys club.”

Mindt is trying to get an initiated ordinance to put an end to the city administrator job. A position he calls unwarranted, highly overpaid, and troublesome.

BRIAN MINDT – Petitioner: “It doesn't matter if it's Dave Johnson, Jon Cameron, Gary Smith, John Doe. It's the position.”

Since moving to Valley City in 1994, Mindt says the position has brought with it too many problems. City leaders refer concerns to administrator Jon Cameron, a buffer zone of sorts.

BRIAN MINDT – Petitioner: “To put it in plain, simple words, too much of an escape goat.”

Other people are mixed on the petition.

MARGARET BASNER - Valley City: “We've always had a city administrator so why all of a sudden are we going to get rid of him.”

BRYAN LARSON - Valley City: “Kind of have my doubts. Don't know what's going on.”

Auditor Avis Richter has the needed paperwork, but has not certified or denied it. She needs to do that by Monday. Once that's done, supporters can start getting about 850 signatures for the issue to be passed or put on the ballot within 90 days.

This has failed on the ballot before. Richter and Cameron declined comment.