Brodhead alderman resigns before facing hearing

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Gina Duwe
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BRODHEAD--The Brodhead alderman the city council had planned to consider removing from office because of attendance issues has resigned his council seat and withdrawn from the mayor's race.

Ward 5 Alderman Mark Coplien sent an email to Mayor Doug Pinnow on Tuesday night saying he accepted a job transfer to Crystal Lake, Ill. He wrote that he would be resigning from the city council and withdrawing from the mayor's race effective immediately, city clerk/treasurer Roseann Meixelsperger said.

Coplien was not seeking re-election to his council seat, but was challenging Pinnow in the April 1 mayor's race.

The city attorney on Tuesday sent Coplien written notification that the city council Feb. 10 planned to hold a hearing and consider removing Coplien from office for not complying with the council's attendance policy, attorney Jamie Olson said.

The hearing would have allowed Coplien to present evidence and testimony, and the council could have voted to remove him from the city council following the testimony.

The Gazette was not able to reach Coplien for comment Wednesday.

“I will be addressing all matters in my letter to the news paper,” Coplien wrote in his email to Pinnow.

The council now will vote on accepting the resignation and discuss filling the position at the Feb. 10 meeting.

The council voted unanimously last week to hold the hearing after an update on city council attendance. Coplien, who wasn't at the meeting, reportedly missed 17 out of 54 meetings, attending 68.5 percent of city council and committee meetings.

Attendance problems had been discussed repeatedly at council meetings, council President Hubert Vickers said, and the council in November 2012 wrote a policy stating anyone that missed more than 25 percent of meetings would be subject to being removed from office.

The council has 24 regular meetings each year and 12 regular meetings for committees, plus any special meetings.

“Every month we would get an update on everybody's attendance record,” he said. “That started over a year ago.”

“I know everybody thinks it's because he's (Coplien) running for mayor. That isn't the issue,” Vickers said Tuesday before learning of Coplien's resignation. “We thought it was time we better do something because he has missed so many meetings.”

Meixelsperger said Coplien had been excused from council meetings for illness, family deaths and work conflicts.

“It's usually a reason,” she said.

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