Brever resigns from St. Anthony City Council


Bonnie Brever

At the beginning of St. Anthony Village’s most recent city council meeting, the mayor and council members accepted the resignation of council member Bonnie Brever, who was not at the Aug. 22 meeting. 

In an interview, City Manager Mark Casey said Brever, the only woman on the council, turned in her resignation Aug. 18. 

Despite city council elections this fall, the timing of her resignation means the St. Anthony council will most likely appoint her replacement.

Brever, who could not be reached despite numerous attempts, had more than two years remaining on her term. According to her letter of resignation, she resigned to focus more on her family, her children and grandchildren. 

“The position of a councilmember requires a tremendous commitment of time and energy, as well as fortitude and mental strength,” she said, going on to state she had been “distracted by cares for her family.”

Originally appointed to the council in February 2015, Brever, a resident of St. Anthony for more than three decades, was chosen from a field of 10 candidates to fill the vacancy created by former member Jim Roth, who resigned earlier that same year. 

Brever worked in various positions for the St. Anthony-New Brighton Independent School District for 23 years before retiring in June 2015.

While completing the year left on Roth’s term, Brever decided to extend her time on the council, and ran for the seat unopposed, elected to a four-year term that began in January 2016. 

Because filing for this fall’s city election closed Aug. 15 — three days before Brever stepped down — Casey said the council will likely appoint someone to fill her seat until someone is elected to the seat in the 2019 election. 

He said city staff is currently working on options to present to the council at a future meeting, pointing out, “The council will choose which options to follow, but it will not be on the ballot.”

“If [her resignation] would have been done prior to filing,” Casey added, “then potentially it could have been on the ballot.”

According to state statute, had Brever stepped down prior to Aug. 1, the opening day of candidate filing, St. Anthony would have been required to hold a special election.

There are six people running for two seats on the St. Anthony council and incumbent council members Jan Jenson and Randy Stille are both seeking reelection. Casey said none of the candidates are eligible for Brever’s now-vacant seat, since they all filed for four-year terms.

The other candidates are Christopher Clark, Dave Colling, Thomas Randle and Nancy Robinett. 

Three of the four challengers were reached for interviews. All said they want the city’s leadership to be more transparent and for there to be increased community outreach and engagement efforts. 

In interviews, Clark, Colling and Robinett expressed disappointment in how the city dealt with the closure of Lowry Grove. Residents of the trailer park had to vacate the 15-acre property after it was sold to a developer who plans to build numerous apartment buildings on the land.

They also said the city and its police department should work towards more transparency, especially with respect to the July 2016 death of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer in Falcon Heights, an act they say still looms over the suburb. 

Brever’s resignation comes after calls from some residents and activists for the resignation of Mayor Jerry Faust and other council members.

“I firmly believe in all the racial equity initiatives that the city is currently involved in,” Brever said in her resignation letter. “And, I believe, the city deserves someone on the council who can dedicate the time and stregnth necessary to make those initiatives sustainable and to implement additional, appropriate changes.”

Though the topic was being widely discussed on the St. Anthony Villagers for Community Action’s Facebook page, as of press time, no news of Brever’s resignation had been posted to the St. Anthony city website, though she had been removed from the page that lists the mayor and council members.

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815


 

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