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UPDATE: Mayoral veto quashes Council's reversal of liquor-license denial

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A letter from Mayor Dan Toland dated Thursday, Aug. 30, says he's reviewed the liquor-license matter - outlined below and seemingly settled at the Aug. 28 City Council meeting - and says he doesn't think it is in the city's best interest to issue the license at this time.

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"Therefore, since Ms. Campbell did not meet the criteria for issuance of a license and pursuant to Wisconsin State Statutes 62.09(8)c, I hereby veto the approval granted by the City Council."

The letter, addressed to City Clerk Lu Ann Hecht, says the guidelines established by the City Council and by which Campbell was originally denied the license are "reasonable and appropriate for use when evaluating potential licensees."

Toland said in the letter, "My objection is that Ms. Campbell does not meet the criteria for issuance of a license in the city of River Falls."

The letter continues to say that the Council may override the veto by a 2/3 vote; it could consider the veto matter either at its Sept. 11 meeting or in a special meeting called before then.

"In the absence of such action," says the letter, "the city clerk may not issue the license."

Toland expresses respect for the Council's role in legislative acts and says he will use the veto tool infrequently. In this case, he says exercising that power serves the best interest of the city.

Council reverses liquor-license denial(original council-report story)

The City Council overturned by a 4-2 vote Aug. 28 an earlier decision not to grant an "operator's license" to Jennifer N. Campbell, 20, who needs it to sell alcoholic beverages at her job as a local-BP retail clerk.

The city found in her background three ordinance violations late in 2011 and early in 2012 involving marijuana: Misdemeanor possession in River Falls and Minnesota and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia in Hudson.

Campbell explained in a letter that in all three cases she'd been holding the pot for someone else and admitted it was a mistake.

She said she had disassociated with the former friends, attended a controlled-substance intervention class, and taken the required online server's course.

She reasoned at the meeting that she needs the work to stand on her own, saying, "The only way I can keep my job is to keep this license."

Questions prompted her to explain that she'd applied and interviewed before incurring the charges but then reported them upon being hired in May. She's been 'off the schedule' pending the appeal outcome.

With respect for Campbell's efforts, Council Members David Reese and Scott Morrissette voted no. Council Member Randy Kusilek was absent.

Reese said the city has a responsibility to adhere to its guidelines and reminded everyone that the license could also be used to tend bar. Council Member Scott Morrissette worried that the reversal would demean other license holders' good standing.

"I'm feeling just the opposite," Council Member David Cronk said, pointing out there is an appeals process for a reason and all young people make mistakes. "We need to give people second chances, and if she messes up, it's gone (license). She knows that and BP knows that."

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