Three Lincoln City Council members say they won't resign in the wake of residents' request that they do so.
At its meeting Thursday night, the Lincoln City Council was met with a statement presented by Lincoln resident Melanie Vincent, asking for the resignations of council members Jon Aman, Karen Daly and Erv Fischer. The formal request for their resignations comes one month after the Lincoln City Council met in executive session to discuss a police sergeant — a closed meeting that drew criticism from residents.
"We believe these previously mentioned council members no longer have the best interests of the city of Lincoln," Vincent said. "To allow this to continue until the election in June may still allow for further damage to the city, both financially and reputationally (sic), and must be addressed sooner than later."
Vincent presented issues such as council members' perceived disregard for others at meetings, the executive session and council discussions regarding transit services and recycling.
"It is evident that this council is ineffective at making major decisions that impact the city," Vincent said in front of a standing room-only audience. "The behavior of this council has lended itself an unfavorable view across professional and political landscapes in the state of North Dakota."
In response, Fischer and Aman said they won't resign.
"I am going to finish the term that I was elected to (to) represent the people," Daly said after the 90-minute city council meeting.
Pointing to the packed meeting room, Lincoln City Council member Tom Volk said his fellow council members should consider Vincent's statement.
"Me, personally, I think I would actually resign if this many people are asking for my resignation. I think we have to consider that," Volk said. "This is a lot of people in our community saying we want a change."
Fischer addressed what he said are half-truths and hearsay in Vincent's statement.
"I don't want to talk any farther about this," he said. "I think this can be addressed at a different level."
"The residents have a voice, to be honest," Volk later said.
"Yes, they do," Fischer said.
Aman read a statement a little later in the meeting, clarifying his side of the issue and what he said is a perception of him as "a cop hater."
"I feel, as a council member, I have been kept in the dark on many issues and I have voiced my concerns and have been (made out to be) a troublemaker," he said.
After the meeting, Lincoln resident Brandon Schock, who has led residents' response since criticizing the executive session, said he talked to Fischer and they will discuss residents' disputes.
"I told the other council members they're welcome to do that, too," Schock said. "So whatever they disagree with in that letter, we're going to have a sitdown with them and we're going to figure it out and go from there."