It’s election day in SD66. More on that in a bit.
The Pioneer Press didn’t endorse a candidate through the front door. But that didn’t prevent them from taking their shots through the backdoor.
Dave Orrick spent about a column-foot painting Mary Jo McGuire’s toenails – and then turned to Greg Copeland. Or at least the part of his bio that fits the DFL’s narrative:
How each arrived at Tuesday’s election is different, too. One bowed out of a political career rather than battle a friend, while the other was run out.
McGuire, 54, a St. Paul native, declined to seek re-election to her House seat in 2002 after a once-a-decade redrawing of the boundaries put her in the same district as her friend and fellow DFLer Rep. Alice Hausman.
How very, very noble!
Copeland’s political history has more turmoil. He left his longtime home of Florida, where he had served as a county commissioner, for Minnesota in the early 1990s. He ran for office unsuccessfully several times.
He served on the Payne- Phalen District 5 Planning Council until 1996, when the board voted him out for allegedly publicly bullying, slandering and humiliating staff and board members, former board members have told the Pioneer Press.
That sounds like some serious allegations. If only we had a group of people whose job was to investigate things like this.
Except Dave Orrick did. From Greg Copeland’s response to the PiPress, with emphasis added:
Mr. Orrick reported that I was removed as President of the Payne-Phalen District Council in September 1996, that is true. I can only wonder why as Mr. Orrick looked through your newspapers’ morgue, why did he skipped the story printed in your paper which reported the firing by the Board of Directors of the Community Organizer and the Secretary-Bookkeeper for violating district council financial policy, which is what I blew the whistle on six months earlier. The allegations made by these staff members against me to oust me as President, were reported by Mr. Orrick, why did he not report these same staff were fired six months later for the very serious mis-behavior I brought to the board’s attention as Board President.
Wonder how that didn’t make the story. Seems…germane to me.
As does this:
Also missing from Mr. Orrick’s report was the fact that I was re-elected to the Board of Directors in April 1997 and the Board issued an apology to me and another Board Member who blew the whistle on the then-former staff. The Board of Directors also voted to name me to the St. Paul Mayor’s Honor Roll for distinguished community service to my neighborhood.
Back to Orrick:
In 2006, despite concerns about Copeland — such as his having been delinquent in property taxes and being pursued by creditors — the Maplewood City Council hired Copeland as city manager. Twenty months later, after a series of staff resignations and on the eve of revelations that the city’s finances weren’t being well tracked, he was ousted from City Hall following a political upheaval that also led to the defeat of former Mayor Diana Longrie, Copeland’s chief defender.
The whole story?
Not really, notes Copeland:
Regarding my service as City Manager of Maplewood from April 2006 to January 2008 Mr. Orrick reports I was I was “ousted” on the “eve of revelations” concerning city finances. The fact is all city managers serve at the pleasure of city council majorities. In the November 2007 city election one of the council members lost her re-election contest and when the new city council met for it’s initial organizational meeting I was placed on Administrative Leave, I was not “ousted”, and the city agreed in February 2007 to pay me a five month severance agreement and I left in good standing.
That’s a part of the story that everyone leaves out.
Orrick punches the “balance” ticket, sort of:
On his campaign website, Copeland says of his tenure in Maplewood, in part: “I made significant administrative cost reductions and hired new police officers and firefighters/paramedics, while freezing the property (tax) rate in my first year.”
There was no “revelation” of fiscal mis-management, quite the contrary, in fact the 2007 City Audit prepared by the Accounting firm of HLB Tautges Redpath, LTD dated August 8, 2008 reported a 2007 budget surplus for my last year as City Manager of $903,873. The audit showed an ending fund balances of $24,269,853, with a 38% unreserved General Fund balance; working capital of $6,858,366 which was a 12% increase over the previous year. I reduced the city debt service as a percentage of total expenditures and under-spent the city’s $29.9 million operating budget saving taxpayers $575,162. All while freezing the 2007 property tax levy and adding new police officers and firefighter/paramedics.
The Pioneer Press – all the news that helps the DFL.
Come on out and vote today.
Disclosure – I’ve been volunteering for the Copeland campaign.