ST. PAUL, Minn. - The mayor of Red Wing is stepping down after being criticized for taking a job with a lobbyist group for the frac sand industry.
Mayor Dennis Egan had said his job as executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council was not a conflict of interest, but several members of the Red Wing City Council objected.
"Red Wing has been my family the last 14 years and I have worked hard to ensure Red Wing is viewed as a special place to live, visit and work," Egan said in a statement released Saturday. "The last few weeks have demonstrated that my new position can serve as a distraction to the city and my family, something that I cannot tolerate as Mayor."
Red Wing is one of a number of Minnesota communities where silica sand mining has become a contentious issue. The silica sand is used to extract oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing.
Red Wing City Council President Lisa Bayley said Egan called Friday night to tell her he was resigning.
"We understand his decision and wish him well in his new position," Bayley said. "I think he had to make that decision -- what we wanted to do. I just don't think the two positions were compatible and he needed to pick something."
Under these circumstances, Bayley said, the city charter demands a special election for mayor. She said council members will call for the election at a meeting Monday night.
Egan says he will work with the City Council to ensure a smooth transition but will step down no later than April 1st.
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