BEMIDJI -- After talking behind closed doors for nearly five hours Thursday night, the Bemidji City Council affirmed its support for City Manager Nate Mathews in the face of an allegation made against the public employee.
According to Brandon Fitzsimmons, an attorney for Flaherty and Hood of St. Paul, which is representing the city on the matter, details on who made the allegation and when it was made is considered private data. Following the special council meeting Thursday, Fitzsimmons referenced Minnesota Government Data Practices Act 13.43, Subdivision 4, when discussing the allegation.
However, in the motion to affirm the city's support of Mathews, the Bemidji Alliance was referenced. The Alliance is a relatively new organization comprised of four entities including Greater Bemidji Economic Development, the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bemidji Downtown Alliance and Visit Bemidji.
In the official motion, read Thursday by Mayor Rita Albrecht, the city committed to consulting with legal counsel and to take action on two subjects. The first is to have the city retain a third party to facilitate a collaborative process in an attempt to resolve issues related to the allegation.
The second action is to submit requests for formal communication to Mathews and to each member of the Bemidji Alliance leadership council, asking them to participate in the aforementioned process. Thursday's motion was passed in a unanimous vote.
In a press release, it was noted the city has never taken any disciplinary action against Mathews. The press release also stated the city has no further comment related to the complaint.
Mathews, who started in spring 2015, has a salary of just over $130,000 based on the city's public employee pay scale.
Check back here on this developing story.