Sprawl debate claims another Lake Elmo official

Lake Elmo is a mess, but like most things in Minnesota government these days, the particulars are officially a secret.

Dean Zuleger, the city administrator, has been fired or has resigned. That’s the secret. The particulars are too hot for the public to handle.

State law prohibits such things from being discussed at open government meetings so when the City Council voted last night — unanimously — on a severance deal, the public was mostly left on the outside looking in on a tortured city government.

“Clearly I have a philosophy of government that might not be in tune with the philosophy of the current council,” Zuleger tells the Star Tribune.

It’s the second time Zuleger has left. Earlier this year, the backlash in town for his firing/resignation led city officials to bring him back. But even then, no discussion was allowed of the particulars, although it’s widely known that the prospect of becoming another Woodbury is ripping the city apart.

“Slow-growth” proponents were elected to the City Council last year and have clashed with the administrator, who is trying to comply with a 2005 Supreme Court order to Lake Elmo to, basically, grow.

The Stillwater Gazette says Zuleger will stay in his current position for a month, spend two months in a consulting role with the city and get a financial severance equal to six months’ salary.

The city will search for its sixth administrator in seven years.

And KSTP reports two more city staff members will soon resign, “bringing the total to six resignations in just three months.”