Washington County commissioners spar over travel costs, assault caseA spat over travel costs took a tense turn Tuesday at a Washington County Board meeting when the topic of Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek's recent misdemeanor assault charge was raised during a sharp exchange between commissioners.
By: Jon Avise, Woodbury Bulletin
A spat over travel costs took a tense turn Tuesday at a Washington County Board meeting when the topic of Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek's recent misdemeanor assault charge was raised during a sharp exchange between commissioners.
With a possible state shutdown looming, Commissioners Lisa Weik and Gary Kriesel questioned the wisdom in sending fellow commissioners Pulkrabek, Autumn Lehrke and Dennis Hegberg to a National Association of Counties conference in Portland, Ore., next month.
Weik and Kriesel urged the board to send only two commissioners to the event. Without a quorum present in Stillwater during the conference, the board would be forced to cancel its July 19 meeting -- something Weik said wouldn't be advisable if the state's budget crisis hasn't yet been resolved.
"Will you have to come back early for your court date?" Weik asked Pulkrabek, referring to the fifth-degree misdemeanor assault charge filed against him last week. Pulkrabek is alleged to have assaulted his girlfriend in Woodbury on Memorial Day and appears in court on July 27. He has denied the charges.
"My personal life is just that -- personal," a visibly uncomfortable Pulkrabek responded to Weik.
Weik, who represents Woodbury, said she wanted to make sure the county wasn't paying for Pulkrabek's registration at the conference if he couldn't attend the event in full. Washington County has budgeted $5,850 for its participation in the conference.
Pulkrabek also took issue with Weik's stance on sending fewer commissioners to the Portland conference, noting that last week she attended a national transit conference in Washington, D.C.
Weik chairs the Gateway Corridor Commission, a group exploring mass transit options for Interstate 94 from St. Paul to western Wisconsin. She forcefully defended her trip to Washington.
"It's not a pleasure trip," she said.