“Our council is very supportive of this process. They went out and found people,” City Administrator Patrick Antonen told the Board of Commissioners in December 2019. “We past a resolution, and the folks filled out an application, and we feel they deserve a shot to serve on this board. We don’t feel we have the proper representation (on the watershed board) that we need.”
“I took a look at who was up and did the due diligence,” said Reinert then. “But really, you had these cities very aggressively pushing other members because they’re being imposed on by the Rice Creek Watershed District’s heavy hand…what they put the cities through.”
But the county board quickly re-appointed longtime Manager Patricia Preiner to her seat, seemingly before Reinert was ready to weigh in. Board members at the time, essentially, said they’d waited long enough to fill the spot.
“The harder I looked, the more nervous people seemed to get, but all of a sudden the board was wanting to re-appoint her before my process was done,” said Reinert months later. “So that was a little un-nerving, to say the least.”
But left behind was Circle Pines, according to city leaders. The list it had provided–along with a similar list provided in 2019 by Centerville leaders–went seemingly un-noticed.
The city asked a district court judge to intervene and rule on whether the county followed state statute or whether the city had. Both the district court judge–and the Court of Appeals–found that the county acted appropriately in regards to the statute.
Now, the city is taking it to the State Supreme Court, which in late September agreed to hear the case.
When contacted for comment, Anoka County leaders declined to comment. Rice Creek Watershed District Administrator Nicholas Tomczik had this statement: “We have always understood the watershed manager appointment process to include the input of cities while the ultimate decision lies with county boards to appoint managers who fairly represent the various areas of the watershed. The district court and the court of appeals treated this as a straightforward and settled question. We continue two (sic) endorse the Minnesota Association of Watershed District’s (sic) position on this issue which supported the decision of the district court and appellate court.”