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Armstrong mayor resigns, city officials on unpaid leave

Armstrong, Iowa, is 10 days into what one council member calls a “city crisis”
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 8:58 PM CST
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ARMSTRONG, Iowa (KEYC) — In two unanimous votes, Armstrong City Council moved to place police chief Craig Merrill and city clerk Tracie Lang on unpaid administrative leave, Monday night at a special public meeting.

“This could drag on for quite some time,” Ronald Trenary, city of Armstrong’s Mayor Pro Tempore, said. “The financial issue that it would put on the city, if we kept them on the payroll. It’s just not financially capable for us.”

There was no vote for Greg Buum, as the now-former mayor resigned from his position before the meeting.

Earlier this month, three city officials and two former city officials were arrested on 21-joint charges stemming from a multi-year investigation into misappropriation of city funds.

“It’s a stress, it’s a stress. I’ve never been involved with anything like this,” Trenary said.

City council spent much of Monday’s meeting filling the gaps in responsibility left by Buum and Lang. Now, council members are scrambling to fill empty positions and finalize their budget, as a special election for mayor likely lies ahead.

“Right now it’s just moving on, moving on, and hopefully getting the city straightened out,” Trenary said.

City officials say law enforcement is being covered by the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office, for now.

Armstrong City Council is set to meet again on March 8.

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