Author: STEVE SCOTT, Pioneer Press
Date: February 9, 2006


John Kysylyczyn is more than two years removed as mayor of Roseville but still has the city on its guard, this time over his contention the city manager overstepped his authority in easing penalties for businesses caught serving alcohol to minors.
Kysylyczyn alleges City Manager Neal Beets lifted one-day license suspensions that had been issued last year to three businesses found to be first-time violators of the city's alcohol enforcement ordinance.The controversial former mayor, who was elected to a four-year term in 1999, frequently sparred with other city officials. In 2003, he lost his bid for the City Council. Since leaving office, he has remained a frequent and vocal critic of some city staff and council members.
Kysylyczyn says the ordinance, adopted while he was in office in 2000, allows only the council to hear appeals, reduce penalties or set conditions for compliance.
City staff members declined to comment because the matter is under police review, at the instigation of Kysylyczyn who filed a formal complaint.
One employee, who asked to not be identified while the investigation is ongoing, said Beets was not guilty of wrongdoing but acted according to past practice, which required offending businesses to appeal to the city manager and police chief.
Beets referred questions to the city attorney.
"The information the former mayor provided to the city is being reviewed," City Attorney Jay Squires said, "and no determination has been made whether anything improper was done."
The City Council was set to discuss the issue at a public meeting last month. But it was taken off the agenda shortly after Kysylyczyn filed a misconduct complaint with Roseville police, who referred it to the Maple Grove Police Department to avoid a conflict of interest.
A Maple Grove investigator said he expected his review to be complete in about two weeks.
Kysylyczyn raised the alcohol compliance issue after he obtained copies of e-mail correspondence between Beets and Police Chief Carol Sletner, as well as letters written by Beets to the three businesses.
He said he obtained the correspondence as part of a public records request he made about an unrelated issue. He provided copies to the Pioneer Press.
Because the three businesses -- the Green Mill Restaurant, Roseville VFW Post 7555 and Old Chicago restaurant -- do not voluntarily participate in the city's alcohol server training program, their penalties for a first offense would have been a $500 fine and one-day suspension of their license.
"We knew the $500 fine for these businesses was almost meaningless, and that the teeth that teaches the lesson is the suspension," Kysylyczyn told the newspaper.
In letters to the three businesses, Beets lifted the one-day suspension, upheld the $500 fine and required them to make a $500 charitable donation and participate in the city's training program.
"The wording of the ordinance says only the council can do those things and only in extraordinary circumstances," Kysylyczyn said.
The City Council, meanwhile, will wait for the legal investigation to run its course.
"Certainly, the issue of how we handle these appeals is an appropriate one for the council to take a look at, and I have every intention of doing so once this other matter is concluded," Mayor Craig Klausing said. "No one had ever made this an issue before."
Author: STEVE SCOTT, Pioneer Press
2006 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.