News: Owen - Aldermen resign amid rumors of threats (1982)

Contact: Kathleen E. Englebretson

Surnames: Hansen, Rennie, Fredrickson, Jalowitz, Gay, Hughes

---Source: Marshfield News-Herald (04 February 1982)

OWEN - Two city of Owen aldermen resigned this week. Allegations have been raised that one of the officials might have resigned because of threats being made against him in connection with the city's planned hiring of a police officer.

Alderman James Hansen said he resigned Tuesday because he has accepted a job in Minneapolis. Alderman William Rennie, who resigned Wednesday, would not comment on his resignation, saying only that it was for "personal reasons".

An anonymous person who called the News-Herald Wednesday claimed, however, that Rennie's resignation was connected to threats. Kathleen Frederickson, city clerk, who was among city officials contacted by the News-Herald today also said that she believed the resignation was connected to the alleged threats.

"There's been quite a groundswell concerning one of the fellows who's up to be hired," Frederickson said.

The city received 18 applications for its police officer's position, she said, and that list had been narrowed to five. One of the five, she added, is a "controversial figure" who is a former area police officer.

"We're considering a controversial figure simply because he was qualified," she added. Not considering the candidate because of controversy could cause problems for the city, since the candidate is qualified, she said.

The controversy with the candidate may involve arrests made while serving in previous police posts, according to Frederickson.

Frederickson said Rennie apparently resigned because of threatening calls concerning consideration of the candidate and "because he doesn't care for that kind of call."

Rennie's resignation is a one-sentence statement that says he is resigning, Frederickson added. It does not state a reason for the resignation.

Hansen said he has been planning his resignation in recent months and the fact that his resignation comes at the same time as Rennie's is coincidental.

"I am aware of what's going on" with the threats however, he added.

Al Jalowitz, Owen chief of police, said Rennie spoke to him this morning about the threats and that the matter will be investigated.

"I don't know if there's anything we can do about it, though," Jalowitz added.

Ernest Gay, city attorney, refused to comment on the Rennie resignation today and Mayor Richard Hughs could not be reached for comment.

Rennie was elected last year to a two-year term on the five-member City Council and Hansen was appointed last year to fill an unexpired term.

No action on the resignations has been taken by the Council, according to Frederisckson.



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