Wells administrator, city leaders part ways in agreement

Published 4:31 pm Monday, October 30, 2017

Former Wells Administrator Robin Leslie left her position earlier this month with a nearly $60,000 severance agreement.

The voluntary agreement, signed by Leslie, Wells Mayor David Braun, and Deputy City Clerk and Finance Specialist Jennie Kloos. The agreement included a lump sum payment of five months pay — $34,034 — health, dental and short-term disability insurance coverages for five months — $3,776 — and earned sick leave and vacation days — a lump sum payment of $20,734.

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In a Sept. 25 letter to city officials, Leslie explained her reasons for resigning.

“Due to my ethical obligations as a career public servant, I have a social responsibility to serve the best interests of the community, and I do not believe I can do that with the current City Council,” she said in the letter. “Therefore, I cannot in good conscience continue as your city administrator.”

Leslie said the letter served as a “30-day notice that you are in breach of contract, and therefore I am requesting an agreeable separation agreement.”

“I feel that I am being forced to resign because I will not continue to work in a hostile work environment for one more minute,” she said.

The agreement was finalized after more than a year of tension between Leslie and some residents in the city.

According to the Mankato Free Press, more than 300 Wells residents introduced a petition requesting Leslie be let go in early September 2016, shortly before she was placed on medical leave to have brain surgery.

According to the paper, Brenda Weber, prior to being elected to the Wells City Council, spearheaded the petition. She was elected to office about two months later.

Leslie and other city officials were reportedly in conflict about the city’s bar and the former United South Central school building, both of which closed.

In a phone interview Friday, Leslie said she tried to work with the newly-elected City Council this year but they had different working philosophies, and she decided it was in her best interest for them to part ways.

The deal contained no admission of wrongdoing from Leslie or the city and included a non-disparagement agreement.

The city and Leslie agreed to not file any complaints, charges or lawsuits against each other. Leslie reserved her right to file a claim for unemployment benefits. 

The contract ended Oct. 20.

As of Friday, Leslie said she was looking for another job but had not found one yet.

A new city administrator has not been hired.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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