Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek says he doesn’t necessarily oppose a new district map that puts his home outside of Oakdale’s district and into one shared with Woodbury Commissioner Lisa Weik, but he does oppose how it came about.
“It’s just more upsetting to me that we’ve had a process we followed. We’ve been working on it for months,” he told Patch. “We were all in agreement. Then Gary (Kriesel) and Lisa (Weik) basically show up and stab you in the back.”
The county board on April 10 had informally agreed on a redistricting plan, choosing from five options, he said. But the board , with Pulkrabek being the lone vote against.
The new plan was based on maps emailed out by Commissioner Gary Kriesel Sunday, and Weik on Monday before the meeting, which led to his accusation that it was a “backroom deal," Pulkrabek said.
“I just called it like it was,” he said. “Talk about transparency—the public had no time to look at, review and give input on the map that eventually passed.”
Although commissioners said the changes were in response to concerns raised by the cities, Pulkrabek said Scandia was the only city that sent official correspondence to the board.
“If they’re making the argument that Scandia dictated changing the entire map of the county, I’m not buying it,” he said.
Weik called the accusation of impropriety absolutely untrue, and said the alignment new districts was “data driven.”
And Kriesel, too, said everything was above board.
"What have I got to gain from this?" he told the Pioneer Press. "I either gained Scandia or Lake Elmo. We had to act in the best interest of the people we represent, not commissioners. I can assure you there were no backroom deals."
One thing that changed with the newest version of the map was Woodbury’s representation—from two commissioners to three.
Woodbury city officials said they were never concerned about the number of commissioners who would represent the city, rather it was that the city wanted more time to weigh in on the proposals, Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said. The city held a workshop on county redistricting the Wednesday before Tuesday’s county board vote.
“There really was very little time to give feedback,” Stephens said, noting that the agreed-upon map wasn’t shown to council members during last week’s workshop.
Pulkrabek said he expects to decide soon whether he’ll move into District 2, or stay in his Woodbury home and face Weik this fall.
Since media coverage of the new map, Pulkrabek said he’s gotten a few calls from conservatives encouraging him to run against Weik.
Weik said she plans to run again this fall and that she’s not moving.
Editor's Note: After this article was published, Patch received information from the City of Woodbury showing that the city did send official correspondence to the Washington County Board, contradicting Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek's statement that Scandia was the only city to send officialcorrespondence. The letter is in the PDF section of this article.