Abrahamson resigns from OPH council

Les Abrahamson
Les Abrahamson

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Oak Park Heights City Councilman Les Abrahamson is resigning from the council at the end of the month due to an out-of-state job move.

The council will address Abrahamson’s resignation at its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

Abrahamson will step down April 30 from the council to relocate to the Dallas area for his job. He submitted his resignation letter March 27 to Mayor Mary McComber, the council and City Administrator Eric Johnson.

In his letter, Abrahamson said it has “been an honor to serve the citizens and businesses of Oak Park Heights over the last 10 years,” and praised the work of city staff.

“I’ll miss working with all of them,” Abrahamson writes. “The St. Croix Valley will always be ‘home’ for me, and I’ll miss it terribly. It’s time, however, for me and my family to start a new adventure — one with warm winters.”

Johnson said in a memo to the council among the “proactive” steps before the panel are accepting Abrahamson’s resignation effective 11:59 p.m. April 30 and declare a vacancy by resolution and fill the vacancy “as soon as possible.”

Johnson said no state law requires the council to advertise for candidates or outlines an appointment process other than a person be “qualified.” He adds that a qualified candidate must be a U.S. citizen, Oak Park Heights resident, qualified city voter and at least 21 years old.

“If the City Council does not desire to hold a special election, the council and mayor may appoint a ‘qualified’ person to fill the vacated seat without the need for a special election as there is less than two years remaining in (Abrahamson’s) unexpired term,” Johnson writes.

Johnson also said the council must consider issues related to its actions if the panel has a tie vote regarding a person to fill the council vacancy.

“Should this occur, it would appear that the mayor would have the ability to appoint such individual without the consent of the council,” Johnson writes.

He adds that besides replacing Abrahamson on the council, council members must also name a replace liaison to the Middle St. Croix Watershed District and the city’s Economic Development Authority. Abrahamson is council liaison to the Middle St. Croix WD and EDA president.

In his resignation letter, Abrahamson recommends the council appoint Mike Liljegren to the council. Abrahamson notes that Liljegren finished third in last fall’s council election and has a long history of serving on the city’s Planning Commission.

“I know he would be an excellent council member and ready to step right in,” Abrahamson writes.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]