Coon Rapids council requested city manager resign

Matt Fulton’s resignation as Coon Rapids city manager was officially accepted by the Coon Rapids City Council Monday evening (July 23).

Matt Fulton
Matt Fulton

At the same time the council at a special meeting unanimously approved a separation agreement that had been negotiated by City Attorney David Brodie and an attorney representing Fulton.

Fulton, who had been city manager for six years since July 2006, resigned the afternoon of July 18.

This came after a closed city council session the evening before (July 17), which followed the council’s regular meeting, for a performance review of Fulton.

According to Mayor Tim Howe, at that meeting the council was unanimous in deciding that it would accept Fulton’s resignation.

Fulton was asked not to attend the evaluation session and after that meeting, Howe said he called Fulton and arranged to meet with him to tell him of the council’s decision and give him a time frame to hand in his resignation.

Howe declined to give reasons for the council’s action to seek Fulton’s resignation, he said.

The performance evaluation came six months after Fulton’s previous evaluation at the beginning of the year.

Normally performance evaluations take place annually, Howe said.

The council Monday night named Public Services Director Steve Gatlin as acting city manager.

Gatlin is currently on vacation so the council has appointed Brodie to be acting city manager when Gatlin is gone.

The council will be setting up a strategy session with staff to discuss the hiring of a new city manager, according to Howe.

“We want to weigh all the various options,” Howe said.

One possible option might be to bring on board an interim city manager from outside city staff while the hiring process for a city manager takes place, he said.

“I am confident that Mr. Gatlin and staff will be able to handle the work in the short-term, but I don’t think we want to put that much pressure on staff in the long-term,” Howe said.

“We need to find a permanent replacement.”

Before coming to Coon Rapids, Fulton was city manager of New Brighton for 13 years.

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, where he graduated from high school, Fulton earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a master of arts degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

His first job was as a physical planner in Dakota County from 1979 to 1981, then he moved to New Ulm to be administrative assistant to the city manager from 1982 to 1987.

His first experience as a top administrator at the city level was in Hartford, Wis., where he was administrator from 1987 to 1993, then he was hired by New Brighton as its city manager before coming to Coon Rapids in 2006 where he succeeded Jerry Splinter, who had retired as city manager.

Fulton is currently a member of the 2011-2012 executive board of the ICMA (International City/County Management Association).

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]