Stainbrook unsure he wants to take the helm in Crookston

Crookston Mayor Guy Martin resigned on Monday, which made City Council member Dale Stainbrook the acting mayor until council members can choose Martin's replacement. Stainbrook said he's unsure if he wants to take over the job permanently.

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Crookston Public Schools will focus on communication as one of its core values. Grand Forks Herald file photo

CROOKSTON – It’s been almost a week since Dale Stainbrook was suddenly and, he said, unexpectedly thrust into the Crookston mayor’s seat.

Stainbrook became the city’s acting mayor when Guy Martin abruptly resigned at a City Council meeting Monday evening, later citing friction between himself and Crookston officials who are pushing for a new soybean processing plant south of town.

So what comes next? Stainbrook and city staff said they want to fill an open spot on the City Council before finding a new mayor. Council member Cindy Gjerswold resigned from her Ward 6 seat because she moved out of town, and a committee comprised of council members and a handful of others are set to interview three potential replacements on Monday, Sept. 30.

After that, the Council is set to decide how it picks Crookston’s next mayor. Council members have typically solicited applications and appointed a new mayor from that pool, or have chosen one of their own to be the city’s next face. The Council is expected to make that determination on Nov. 12 or 25.

Stainbrook, who for the moment has the same powers and responsibilities Martin did and was named acting mayor because he was the city’s vice mayor, said he’s not sure if he wants to officially take over the office.


“Let’s say I do want to, you know, put my hat in the ring for mayor. I don’t want it being considered a good-old-boy club,” Stainbrook told the Herald. “Or if council’s kind of divided on it, I’m OK sitting on the Ward 5 seat and representing my area.”

And what about the biodiesel plant plan? Epitome Energy, LLC, hopes to build a $150 million facility that would crush soybeans for fuel.

“I want this company to come, for Crookston,” Stainbrook said. “But it’s (got) a lot of hurdles. ... I’m not a farmer. I don’t know a lot about soybeans. I’m just trying to get all the information that’s available to me now, and be informed and try to do best for Crookston.”

Here are the people on the Ward 6 interview committee: Stainbrook, Ward 5 council member and acting mayor; Jake Fee, Ward 1 council member; Steve Erickson, Ward 2 council member; Clayton Briggs, Ward 3 council member; Don Cavalier, Ward 4 council member; Bobby Baird, at-large council member; Tom Vedbraaten, at-large council member; Charles Reynolds, Crookston’s city attorney; and Preston Hoiseth, a pastor at Bible Baptist Church.

They’re scheduled to interview Patty Dillabough, Dylane Klatt and Chris Plante for about 30 minutes each. The first interview is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Crookston City Hall.

Jeremy Olson, superintendent at Crookston Public Schools, removed himself from the interview committee because Dillabough is a School Board member, City Hall staff said.

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

You can reach him at:
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