November 15, 2017

Auditor files complaint against city

BY ALYSSA MEIER
Editor
The Washburn City Commission will not be involved in any further negotiation or discussion regarding a complaint filed against the city, after motioning against participating in the voluntary compliance process.
At its meeting Monday, Commissioners briefly discussed a letter sent by the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights to the City, regarding a formal complaint filed by City Auditor Joan Zimmerman. The document states that a complaint of retaliation had been filed by Zimmerman, alleging that she was retaliated against after reporting a violation of state laws.
In an enclosed narrative, Zimmerman states that she has faced “direct retaliation for an open meeting violation Commissioner (Larry) Thomas received in 2016.”
Among other comments in the statement, Zimmerman cites multiple occasions in which Thomas attempted to have her removed from her position, and a reported attempt by Thomas to access her office after hours. The official complaint of retaliation lists the resolution as undetermined.
The City Commission and Washburn’s City Attorney evaluated the letter during Monday’s meeting, and decided that there is little that they can do.
“(Zimmerman) is requesting help from the Department of Labor for an immediate injunction or restraining order against Larry Thomas,” City Attorney David Lindell said, adding that Zimmerman also requested reimbursement for attorney fees incurred because of these instances.


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