Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 30, 2005

Chantland escorted out of Montrose council meeting

By Dave Cox

Montrose resident Bob Chantland used the open forum portion of last Monday’s city council meeting to publicly announce a personal crusade to bring about change in city government.

The change he got was an escort to the door by a police officer.

Items for discussion by Chantland given to City Administrator Barb Swanson included city budget, city yard signs, ads, and announcements.

Acting Mayor Sharon Knodel told Chantland that some of the items on his list had been discussed previously, but asked him about the city yard signs.

Chantland began reading a prepared statement outlining his plans and his opinions concerning the City of Montrose, city staff and elected officials.

Chantland said he plans to purchase a series of full-page ads addressing the state of city government in Montrose. He also said that he plans to place several “freedom of speech” signs on his property.

Knodel asked Chantland to stop, and when he ignored her requests, she recessed the council meeting at 7:40.

Chantland continued to read his announcement, even though the council and most of the other staff and audience members left the room when the meeting was recessed.

Chantland alleged corruption in city government and vowed to ask for the resignation of certain city officials.

His comments also included allegations that tax money has been squandered by the city, and suggestions that apathy on the part of residents contributed to the situation.

Shortly later, Chantland was asked to step outside by Wright County Sheriff’s Deputy RJ Pool.

Chantland told Pool that he had the right to speak because it was open forum.

Pool advised Chantland that it was also his responsibility not to be disruptive.

Pool asked Chantland why he was continuing to read when no one was listening. Chantland said that it was an open forum in a public meeting and he had a right to speak.

When he finished reading his statement, Chantland told Pool that he had no more to say and would sit and listen quietly for the rest of the meeting.

At that point, Chantland was escorted from the Community Center by Pool and another deputy.

Fire Chief Mike Marketon took issue with a comment that Chantland made in reference to an alleged “fire department agenda.”

“I would like to state for the record that I have never told anyone either privately or in a fire department meeting who to vote for, and who I voted for is my own business,” Marketon said.

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