I was reading the front page of the Mitchell Daily Republic today and was greeted with the photo of an old acquaintance — former Yankton City Manager Jeff Weldon.
The first sentence of the accompanying story by Tom Lawrence reads as follows:
Every two weeks, Brookings City Manager Jeffrey Weldon walks into a City Council meeting knowing he could be fired.
That made me laugh, and I suspect Jeff would laugh with me if he were at my side.
Jeff may or may not know that reality better than most considering his sudden termination by the Yankton City Commission in October 2007 after a couple years of service. That special meeting on a Friday afternoon sparked a heated political controversy in Yankton (which may or many not have been eclipsed by the drama of the recent Yankton School District opt-out election). When all the smoke cleared that winter four years ago, Yankton’s mayor and a city commissioner had been recalled.
Weldon, meanwhile, landed on his feet as the city manager of Brookings, a place that he has told me personally is a much better fit for him.
He was in Mitchell Tuesday to speak to the Lions Club. The city will hold an election June 7 to determine if voters want to convert to a city manager form of government. Weldon, of course, believes in that form of government and described it as a good investment that can save a city money in the long run.
He also had a few words about his experience in Yankton that local readers may find of interest:
(Weldon) said a political dispute over a municipal pool in Yankton led to his departure there after a “toxic” political climate developed.
“I tell people I left for health reasons,” Weldon said. “The City Council and I were sick of each other. Brookings is a much better fit for me.”
Last week, Brookings Mayor Tim Reed spoke glowingly of Weldon to the Mitchell Kiwanis Club. Reed said Weldon was largely responsible for the growth and progress in his city. He is the city’s third city manager and has held the job for three and a half years.
It’s good to hear that Jeff is doing well and still has a sense of humor (though I’m sure there is a lot of personal truth in the statement).