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Prophetstown alderman resigns amid police chief controversy

Official ‘didn’t realize he was getting in middle of it,’ mayor says

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 10:49 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, May 19, 2014 9:31 p.m. CST

PROPHETSTOWN – A Prophetstown City Council member resigned late last week, apparently as a result of the controversy surrounding the mayor’s decision to fire the longtime police chief.

Alderman Les Wilson served a little more than 2 months on the council, having been sworn in March 11. He was appointed by the mayor and approved by the council to fill a vacant seat.

Mayor Steve Swanson confirmed Wilson’s departure.

“He just said he was sorry he was going to turn in his resignation. He said he didn’t realize he was getting in the middle of it,” said Swanson, referring to the controversy over the chief.

Earlier this month, the mayor fired Police Chief Mike Fisk, who started in 1991. Swanson said he had discussed his plan with the six council members, and that they backed the move.

Under state law, the mayor has the power to dismiss the police chief.

Swanson said the council members hadn’t backed away from their support.

He said Alderman Wilson lives near Fisk’s parents, and that they had been friends.

“That got to him,” Swanson said.

The mayor has declined to give a reason for firing Fisk, saying he made the decision after much reflection. Fisk was the not the subject of any investigation or disciplinary action, Swanson said.

The mayor said he and the former chief had differences, but he separated his personal feelings from public business.

Wilson and Fisk couldn’t be reached for comment.

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