The city of Braham has a new police chief following the resignation of the previous chief in late October.

During the Braham City Council meeting Nov. 9, the council voted to appoint Lt. Kevin Stahl as the Braham police chief. Stahl had been appointed interim police chief during a special meeting of the council on Oct. 25. Eric Baumgart, the previous police chief, is now a patrol officer with the Cambridge Police Department.

Braham Mayor Tish Carlson explained Stahl’s hourly rate will be $35.31 per hour until Jan. 1. That is the same rate of pay that Baumgart had been earning.

“On the information we had before he had asked for $38 per hour. We’re looking at what that step is to get him as close as possible to that,” Carlson said. “But it won’t get him right at that number, but we’ve already talked and he said he would be good with that if we get him up close to it so it stays within our pay scale.”

Stahl said until the police department is up to full staff he will move his schedule around to help cover gaps so the city can retain its 24/7 coverage. Stahl said he’ll also switch between detective and police chief as needed.

“And you had talked about with the scheduling and the 40 hours and that; just remember that if you do go over 40 hours, it always has to be at time and a half,” Council Member Vicky Ethen said.

Ethen then asked if Stahl is going to be a salaried employee.

“Well, Eric (Baumgart) was salaried, so that’s dependent on you. I’m good either way; I mean, the paycheck looks the same,” Stahl said. “It depends on you guys. If you guys want me to be salaried, I’ll be salaried. The only stipulation is, like I said, is while we’re short, I’m covering shifts, but anything over 40, I’d like to get compensated for that.”

Stahl also noted the Braham Police Department recently received a letter of accommodation from the Isanti County Sheriff’s Department for the quick response from two Braham police officers to a house explosion that occurred in Cambridge Township on Oct. 23.

He said the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office also recently sent a letter of accommodation regarding Braham Police Officer Keith Justen’s response to a critical situation that took place, also on Oct. 23, in downtown Cambridge. The situation involved an armed suspect who fled downtown Cambridge and a perimeter was set up. The individual was arrested shortly after the perimeter was set up.

“Like I said, these are out of the city. Our cops are doing their jobs, they’re doing them very well, to the point where other agencies and their supervision are reaching out to us and telling us that we’re doing a good job,” Stahl said. “I just like you guys and the public to know what the officers of Braham are capable of.”

Council declares vacancy

The council accepted the resignation of Council Member Ryan Davis and declared a vacancy. Davis’ last council meeting was the November meeting, and he had to resign from his position because he was moving out of city limits.

The council decided they will seek applicants for the vacant seat and then appoint a person to fill the seat. The person who is appointed to the seat will serve in the seat until the general election in November 2022. The person elected in November would then serve out the remainder of Davis’ term, which expires in December 2024.

In other action the council:

• Approved the hiring process to hire one full-time police officer and create an eligibility list.

• Accepted the resignation of Terri Berg as a background investigator.

• Accepted the resignation of Robert Berg, a part-time police officer.

• Accepted the resignation of Shawn Machin, a part-time police officer. Stahl explained since Machin has been promoted within the Cambridge Police Department he hasn’t worked a part-time shift for Braham as his responsibilities have increased in Cambridge.

• Accepted the demotion of Brandon Thomsen, a patrol officer who wishes to be demoted from a full-time officer to a part-time officer. Thomsen recently accepted a full-time position with the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Department. Once Thomsen’s one-year probationary period ends with the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Department, he would like to remain a part-time police officer with the Braham Police Department.

• Promoted Jillian Verke from part-time to full-time police officer.

• Accepted a motion to rescind the resignation of Police Officer Jesse Zajac, who resigned to join the North Branch Police Department. Zajac wishes to be reinstated as a part-time patrol officer and Taser instructor.

• Accepted the resignation of Victor Fanth from the water/wastewater department.

• Accepted the resignation of Stephanie White as deputy clerk/treasurer.

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