Last week, this St. Cloud Times editorial said “The St. Cloud City Council did the right thing Monday night when it voted 5-1 to adopt a resolution declaring the city a just and welcoming community.” They’re entitled to their opinion, though they aren’t entitled to their own facts. The truth is that the Council didn’t vote on Councilman Goerger’s resolution, at least during the regularly scheduled meeting. They voted on whether to end discussion on Jeff Goerger’s resolution.

Instead of rehashing what happened last Monday, let’s play a game called ‘What if’? For the sake of this post, let’s imagine that the City Council had 5 people who opposed refugee resettlement and just one that wanted the federal government to send more refugees to St. Cloud. Next, let’s assume that the resolution wasn’t published until minutes before discussion started on the resolution. Next, let’s assume that the majority attempted to end discussion after just 5 minutes. Finally, picture this happening while the audience screamed ‘Out of order’ when they weren’t booing the lone councilmember who supported unlimited refugee resettlement.

Given the different outcome, would the St. Cloud Times write that the City Council had done the right thing? Would the Times say that hiding such a resolution was a good thing? Or would they criticize the angry mob for hiding the resolution from the people? Would they praise the City Council for their lack of transparency? Or would they criticize them for ambushing an unsuspecting city councilmember?

If you attended the meeting 2 weeks ago or watched it livestreamed, you don’t have to imagine anything. You watched it play out that way, just with the roles reversed.

The point of this thought exercise is to highlight the importance of a few things, starting with the necessity of playing fair. Without consistent enforcement of the rules, chaos runs rampant. Without enforcing the rules of the City Council, people might get ambushed, which is what happened on Oct. 23.

Another thing that hasn’t been emphasized enough is the fact that Councilman Goerger’s resolution, which called for a just and welcoming city, wasn’t discussed with respect towards those who didn’t agree with them. The meeting was the definition of chaotic:

This ambush was the City Council at its worst. It didn’t discuss the issue thoroughly or respectfully. The Council didn’t listen to the people before shutting down debate. Worst, the Council wasn’t interested in having a debate. Those that sided with Jeff Goerger were interested in winning. They cared more about mob rule than they cared about principled, respectful governance.

5 Responses to “What if?, City Council edition”

  • Dave Steckling,sr says:


  • John Palmer says:

    More what ifs. What if:

    1. four or more of the council members used a string of voice and electronic media to plan the events that unfolded on the evening of October 23rd?
    2. electronic communications were occurring between those that offered and subsequently voted to close debate on the motion?
    3. members of an organized group were communicating with council members regarding the Goerger resolution in real time and hidden from public view?

    Clearly, if any of the previous what if questions occurred, the spirit, if not the letter, of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law was violated. With the clear violation of the Council’s own rules and the potential of open meeting law violations, what should the Council do?

    They should have an open, balanced and civil discussion, including input from the community, regarding the impact of refugee resettlement on our community.

  • Greg says:

    Mr Palmer’s efforts (he can share if he chooses) will go far to MAKING the City “own up” to this B.S. I sent my own message and demands.The Mayor called me upon receipt and wanted a meeting. He ADMITTED to me face to face the Council was a total train wreck AND that there WERE VIOLATIONS, and that he consider himself “almost” an expert in Roberts rules.
    He also stated, like he does about LOTS of things, he has “no control” over the Council and this was their doing. He stated he had little if any advance knowledge…”he heard about it”. On the GOOD side, he did write to Emmer and HHS and asked for answers. The time has come to file a MN Data Practice Act Request for the Council’s and City staff emails (and texts that were transmitted and received during the meeting which is a CLEAR Open meeting law violation. THAT WILL EXPOSE THIS ENTIRE CHARADE FOR THE CIRCUS IT WAS/IS.

  • Kathleen Virnig says:

    I witnessed the charade of so called City Council, using Roberts Rules. The City Council were clearly out of order & appeared to be in collusion against Jeff Johnson. He seemed to be completely taken by surprise by the anti-moritorium vote. This smacked of a planned event — without warning or openness. The fact that President Lewis had closed the meeting already violated Roberts Rules. This must be inveestigated right away.

  • Troy DanDurand says:

    Firstly, the issue is not a Refugee issue.

    The real issue is placing a Moratorium on Refugee Resettlement because it solely represents the largest and biggest threat/risk to our financial security as a community. It’s not a religious or bigot or hate issue; period!

    A moratorium represents a formal amen responsible action/response as a legitimate Fiduciary ACTING AS A TRUSTEE. AS ONE EXAMPLE OF THE CITY COUNCILS FAILURE AS A TRUSTEE AND DEMONSTRATING POOR FINANCIAL EXPERTISE, why did it take those same City Council members “years” to suddenly vote on a REFINANCE to realize a $3M+ savings? Are we making more money than we can spend? If not, it sure is evident to me that “an immediate focus” of the Mayor and other Fiduciary sound leaders WOULD HAVE RECTIFIED AND REFINACED IMMEDIATELY. Only a fool would have waited; and that’s exactly what they did; they waited again diluting their value as community trustees.

    On a separate note…
    Quick question, did anyone meet or introduce themselves to a Christian Refugee at the Saint Cloud City Council meeting? If not, why not?

    In fiscal 2016, according to, 44% of refugees brought to the U.S. are Christian. 46% of refugees brought to the U.S. are Muslim.

    My question is why does it appear that the city of Saint Cloud MINNESOTA, and the Minnesota Refugee Resettlement Programs as a whole, is obviously discriminating against Christian Refugees by NOT bringing more Christians Refugees into our community?

    One only need to travel abroad in Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Morocco, to see the impact on Christians globally. The poor decisions of our city council members are precursors to what’s to come, which is not value-added benefits. God help us!!

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