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Published September 02, 2011, 06:36 PM

Mortenson sheds light on sudden resignation

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - As a colonel in the Army he spent time helping organize battle plans following 9/11. But today, the retired strategic war planner is nose to nose with the Becker County Board of Commissioners.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

As a colonel in the Army he spent time helping organize battle plans following 9/11. But today, the retired strategic war planner is nose to nose with the Becker County Board of Commissioners. Tom Mortenson has been the administrator for the county for just 8 months, a unanimous choice at the time. But despite widespread support from the community, the board asked Mortenson to resign, which he did today.

Tom Mortenson – Resigned Becker County Post: “That is the one thing that is concerning to me because what we have is the division between my side of the issue that was for open government and transparency and now we have the appearances of the closed door, back door good old boy system in place again that disturbs me.”

Tom Mortenson is baffled. After a performance review just days ago

Tom Mortenson: “At that time they rewarded me a pay raise so this action was unusual.”

Two commissioners approached Mortenson with a demand.

Tom Mortenson: “When they demanded that I either resign or would be fired.”

It is just not Mortenson baffled by the forced resignation, several civic groups in town came in support of him from taxpayers association to the chamber to environmental groups.

Sally Hausken – Detroit Lakes: “The knew he was crème de la crème.”

Sally Huskin of Detroit Lakes attended today's special commission meeting, where Mortenson's resignation was accepted on a 3-2 vote.

Sally Hausken: “They hire him unanimously and seven months later they’re ready to throw him out?”

Becker County Board members would not comment on Mortenson's resignation, citing data privacy rules. But many in the county are not clear now on what kind of administrator the board members want to lead them

The Coalition of Lake Associations says Mortenson's abrupt departure raises serious questions about the county's ability to attract and retain strong leaders.

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