- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Minot’s city manager is defending the ethics of city officials in the wake of criticism by the principal planner who quit after less than three weeks on the job.

Carter Thompson resigned last week after being hired in early March. She criticized the city for what she said was the inequitable administration of city zoning codes and called the city a “dysfunctional, nightmare situation.”

City Engineer Lance Meyer said earlier that his department adheres to the city zoning rules. City Manager Lee Staab on Monday said Thompson’s accusations were groundless.

“I have not seen any evidence of any unethical behavior on behalf of any department,” he said. “These people are truly dedicated professionals, and I have never seen a harder-working group of people.”

Thompson cited examples of what she said were businesses getting favorable treatment and said zoning ordinance enforcement was based on “who you are and who you know.”

Staab disputed that, saying Thompson mischaracterized some examples and that “everything that’s done by the city staff goes before multiple checks and balances to include the planning commission, City Council.”

Members of the citizen group #MakeMinot that is seeking a smaller and more accountable city government is calling for an independent probe.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for a complete assessment,” spokesman Shaun Sipma said. “We’ve touted from the beginning that we want to improve our form of city government to make things more accountable, to improve trust.”

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