North St. Paul councilman stuns meeting by quitting over row with mayor


North St. Paul City Council member Scott Thorsen resigned his position, got up from his seat, shook the city manager's hand and left the building.

The extraordinary scene took place on Tuesday night, the first council meeting since a very public falling out between Thorsen and North St. Paul Mayor Mike Kuehn earlier this month when they almost came to blows.

In the altercation over whether liquor license penalties should be stronger, Kuehn allegedly told Thorsen to "shut your god damn mouth" and asked him if he wanted to "take it outside." In the aftermath, Thorsen called on Kuehn to resign.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Lillie News reports that 25-year council veteran Kuehn addressed the chamber, saying he was embarrassed by his actions and adding: "I want to seriously and strongly apologize to council member Thorsen…and [to] the entire city council."

But the Pioneer Press reports the council's attempts at a reconciliation failed when Thorsen announced his resignation.

"The threat of violence is something that should be taken seriously. ... Although I am willing to forgive, I can never forget the mayor's hostile actions against me," he said, according to the newspaper, saying there was "no possibility" of honest debate any more.

The Pioneer Press says Thorsen walked behind Kuehn and shook only the hand of city manager Jason Ziemer before he left the building, not saying another word.

After he left, the Lillie News reports that the council agreed to delay accepting Thorsen's resignation in case he changes his mind.

Several residents in the audience spoke at the meeting, with varying messages of support for both Thorsen and the council.

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