Feb 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm
SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (KNSI) - In a move that raised eyebrows and emotions throughout a packed house, during Monday night's city council meeting, Sauk Rapids Mayor Brad Gunderson announced he will not voluntarily resign his position.
In the Mayor's Communiciations portion of the meeting, the mayor cited a February 17th afternoon arrest for drunken driving as "bad judgement." He apologized to residents, asking for their support as he moves forward in his first mayoral term.
"I've received many letters of encouragement," Gunderson said. "I am truly embarrassed by my actions, the circumstances and the outcome. I ask for the public's forgiveness as we move forward."
The mayor's request was quickly rebuked by the Sauk Rapids residents who responded to his speech during an open forum.
30 year-resident Mike Aurelius stood up first, with a prepared statement asking the mayor to tender his resignation immediately.
Aurelius tells KNSI, it's not only Gunderson's high blood-alcohol-level arrest - it's the fact that the mayor went to work the next day as a dial-a-ride driver.
"What troubles me is what he did on Monday, when he got back in that bus and drove my son and other handicapped kids," Aurelius says. "With his reported blood alcohol level, he was probably still intoxicated. That is unacceptable."
In his statement, which Aurelius mailed to the mayor prior to the meeting, Aurelius said he believes most residents share his opinion.
"Brad needs to resign," Aurelius stated. "He needs to resign and check himself into rehab."
Aurelius' statement was followed by six more residents, also calling for the mayor to step down from his newly elected position. Council Member Kurt Huntsitger then moved to draft a resolution stating the council does not condone the mayor's actions.
The council agreed, and a resolution is expected at the March 17th meeting.
Gunderson was arrested after he smashed into two trash cans and a crosswalk sign in Sauk Rapids on February 17th. He was suspended from his job as a Dial-A-Ride driver for Metro Bus.
He also has two prior drunken driving convictions on his record dating back to the 1980's.
KNSI News requested comment from Gunderson after the meeting, but was denied.