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Shakeup occurs at Cannon Falls City Hall

CANNON FALLS—In a closed door session on Monday, Feb. 12, Cannon Falls City Council members decided to remove two key staffers: City Administrator Ron Johnson and Public Works Director Tom Bergeson.

Bergeson has been with the city since 2009 and Johnson came aboard in 2014. Bergeson previously worked for the city of Kenyon and Johnson was city administrator for Zumbrota, then Lake City, before coming to Cannon Falls.

It's not unprecedented for a council to remove one key member of a city's staff, but it is remarkable that the council decided to remove two key members at once.

Interim City Administrator Lanell Endres said that Johnson has been placed on a 30-day administrative leave while he and the city attorney work out a separation agreement, and Mayor Robby Robinson confirmed that Bergeson's arrangement is the same.

Utilities Supervisor Wes Anway will serve as interim public works director until that position can be filled. Anway is currently a union employee and Endres said that the city is now working on a memo of understanding to facilitate his temporary transition into the role of public works director.

A timeline for filling these positions has not yet been discussed and no meetings have been held by the council since Monday, Endres said. Robinson confirmed that the council would not likely address the issue until its next scheduled meeting on Feb. 20. The agenda for that meeting states that the council will vote on the separation agreements for both men and discuss next steps.

This is the second time in recent years that Endres will serve as interim city administrator. In September 2007, Kathleen Miller resigned as city administrator at the same meeting where Lisa Wilcox-Erhardt resigned her role as council member. Their joint resignation notices decried harassment and favoritism among elected officials serving at the time. Endres then served as interim city administrator until Aaron Reeves came on board. Once he left for a city clerk position in Rochester, Johnson was hired for the role.

"We don't anticipate that it's going to have an impact on the projects that we're working on," Endres said. "We have capable staff to carry on the work."