Local mediators sue the City of Northfield

Two local mediators filed suit against the City of Northfield in Rice County late Wed. afternoon, claiming that they’ve been unfairly bypassed from consideration as potential mediators for the Northfield City Council.

Consultant Charles U. Farley and attorney Juan Morefore DeRhode contend that by placing them on a citizens panel to select a mediator from the Twin Cities, they’ve been eliminated from contention, thereby hurting their professional reputations and denying them an income-earning opportunity.

“It’s a lose-lose proposition for us,” said Farley. “We have to volunteer our time as citizens and can’t make a buck. For them to put us on this selection committee was a manipulative, deceitful tactic. What a bunch of losers. No wonder they need mediators.”

DeRhode cited the economic impact. “Once again, the city is ignoring the ‘buy local’ mantra of the Chamber and is purchasing the services of consultants from outside the area even though local expertise is available. I’ve repeatedly asked city councilors to pull strings with city staff so that I land a consulting contract occasionally but I’ve gotten nowhere with that approach. What’s it going to take, election year campaign donations?”


Farley and DeRhode were seen unfurling a protest banner on Bridge Square at about 3 pm. (Submitted photo. Click to enlarge.)

They have hired noted Twin Cities lawyer Pilar Knickersoff to represent them. No court date has been set.


  1. In a strange, yet completely predictable, twist, both mediators have offered to resolve the lawsuit out of court provided the City hire them to mediate the settlement.

    November 8, 2007
  2. John George said:

    This is an interesting twist. It seems there are two sides to this issue. If a local mediator is hired, then there is a place for accusation by somone who doesn’t like the outcome to charge familiarity on their part and not impartiality. Now that the council is looking outside the city limits to gaurantee impartiality, they are being accused of not using local talent. Is there any wonder they seem to be paralyzed to do anything?

    I’m sorry the two mediators were not approached and allowed to make their own decision on this. On the other hand, Mr Farley said, “We have to volunteer our time as citizens and can’t make a buck.” Does this mean that he will only be a good citizen if he is paid to do so? Hmmmm. I certainly hope this is not what he meant.

    I’m not sure that a mediator is going to be able to change the atmosphere around communication within the council. To need a mediator implies that there are concrete issues around which there are oposing opinions and no one will budge. I still don’t think there has been any concrete issues defined that can be mediated. There seems to just be speculation about possible issues and people’s opinions about them. Maybe I’m missing something here in all the falderall, and if so, anyone who can enlighten me is welcome.

    November 8, 2007
  3. Christine Stanton said:

    Way to go Jaci! And Griff, “Knickersoff”? Where do you come up with these names? 🙂

    November 8, 2007
  4. Christine Stanton said:

    Yup. One more for the road, though I am still trying to figure out what map our city is using. Is it a road to nowhere?

    November 8, 2007
  5. Britt Ackerman said:

    I can’t imagine what the cause of action would be. If anyone has a copy of the Summons and Complaint, will you please post it here? David L, maybe you have an idea?

    November 8, 2007
  6. ***NEWS UPDATE***

    After the City turned down the mediators’ offer to mediate their initial lawsuit out of court, both mediators have now sued the City to force the City to hire the mediators to mediate a settlement to the initial lawsuit.

    Immediately after filing this second lawsuit, both mediators offered their services to the City to mediate a resolution to it.

    A spokesperson for the mediators commented that failure to take the mediators up on their offer to mediate the second lawsuit could result in additional legal action. Should that occur, both mediators stated that they would be quick to offer their advance conflict resolution skills to the City.

    “Someone with the appropriate skill set really has to step in and resolve all these lawsuits for the City,” said Mr. Farley.

    November 8, 2007
  7. Mr. DeRhode remarked that he “didn’t know how long this legal madness will continue, but surely I am very qualified to mediate an effective solution to these lawsuits between the City and myself.”

    He later added that he certainly understood “the issues and luxury car payments involved better than anybody, even better than Mr. Farley, who understands the issues, but sees the solution in more of a ‘vacation-home mortgage’ framework.”

    November 8, 2007
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    Brendon, what are you smoking today?

    November 8, 2007
  9. Britt Ackerman said:

    Wow, I feel pretty dumb for not immediately picking up on the fact that this post was Griff’s faux news. To be fair, though, such a suit would not be surprising given the current local political climate.

    BTW, Etter’s comments made me laugh out loud.

    November 8, 2007
  10. If by “smoking” you mean putting dried organic materials and chemical additives in my mouth, setting them afire and inhaling the resulting fumes, then I would have to say, I seem to be smoking cigarettes…

    But wait, these are not cigarettes, no… no… they are… they… are… wondersticks of pure love.

    Bastards told me they were cigarettes. That’s the last time I buy “cigarettes” from ninth grade neo-hippies.

    You no likey my extrapolations on your story? Never dangle semi-absurdist leads in front of me and then act surprised when I take the bait like a poodle-flavored basketball smoking wondersticks of pure love.

    (Note: That was more-purely absurdist, as opposed to absurdist-light satire.)

    November 8, 2007
  11. Christine Stanton said:

    Is anyone writing a book about our dear little town of Northfield? I agree, Britt; even if it was “factual” no one would believe it was real. It is sort of like a sweet old grandmother that spurts #!!#!!!! but not as funny.

    November 8, 2007
  12. Lisa Guidry said:


    Your humor sucks a big one! We don’t need this kind of crap with all the tension going on. I guess I’ll be back in your sin bin.

    November 9, 2007
  13. Griff,

    Mr. Farley and Mr. DeRhode have contacted me regarding the arrangement of a mediation session between you and Ms. Guidry. I’d advise you to take them up on the “offer,” as they have threatened legal action against anyone refusing their affirming, common-ground approach toward everyday conflict.

    November 9, 2007
  14. Lisa Guidry said:

    Ta Ta Brendon!

    November 9, 2007
  15. kiffi summa said:

    If brendon misses the opportunity to ACTUALLY write a play for Purely-Absurd School of the General Theatre of the Absurd movement, well …
    he just ain’t the “play-a-day Guy I thought he was!

    November 9, 2007
  16. Griff Wigley said:

    Britt, glad you’re being a good sport about it. You’re right, it’s not at all that far-fetched when you read Jaci Smith’s blog post about what happened. Nucking futts!

    November 9, 2007
  17. Yes. “Ta” and “Ta” again to you, Ms. Guidry. Not sure what that means, exactly; so I can only assume you found my comment so mirth-inducing as to reduce you to purely infantile expressions of sensory delight.

    You know, if you really want me to write a play, let’s talk about a commission: I’m sure you could convince my entourage to convince my agent to convince my wife to convince my dog to convince me to write a play about Northfield’s current municipal malaissez-faire for a mere $10,000.

    How about it? I’ll even dedicate it to the cottonwood tree of your choosing.

    (Yes; I was also very sad to see them go. I have a hard time even walking downtown right now because of what I’m guessing is “Phantom-Tree” pain.)

    November 9, 2007
  18. Julie Bixby said:

    i think your adding humor to such a dismal state of affairs is refreshing! I enjoyed it very much. It isn’t far-fetched after I read what Jaci wrote.

    You make me laugh! Thanks for adding to Griff’s funny business!

    A sense of humor (IMHO) is vital! If we all laughed more and argued less I think we might actually accomplish something!


    November 9, 2007
  19. kiffi summa said:

    Ah …Brendon, Brendon … It’s not always about money. I’m talkin’ Art here, man: and it would make you famous!

    How could someone who terms our trauma “malaissez-faire” resist?

    November 9, 2007
  20. Julie,

    Thank you. You make me laugh too. I’m not sure at what, since you never tell me jokes any more like you used to when I held you captive in my basement for six weeks a couple years back. Remember that? Ahhh… good times, good times.

    PS: On that note, tell Norm he should put several more tasteful nudes on the walls at the Cow. I’m not talking about portraits or pictures; I’m talking actual live nudes. Try duct tape. If that doesn’t hold them, there’s always Super Glue.


    Thank you for clarifying that it isn’t always about the fortune. Sometimes a man has to remember to pull back and trust in the simpler aspects in life, like wholesome fame.

    November 9, 2007
  21. Ross Currier said:

    Gee whiz, I look away from this site for a few hours and Brendon’s talking about somebody’s ta-tas.

    Griff, where are you? Off somplace nucking futts?

    Well, I suppose it is Friday afternoon…

    November 9, 2007
  22. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m back, Ross. I left Lisa and Brendon in charge while I was away. Was there a problem?

    November 9, 2007
  23. kiffi summa said:


    Sarcasm in post # 23 .. Better moderate that, Griff…

    November 10, 2007
  24. Ross Currier said:

    Oh, Brendon and Lisa were IN CHARGE while you were away.

    Well, as long as you had a PLAN in place…

    …no problem.

    November 10, 2007
  25. Lisa Guidry said:

    Griff, Brendon, & Ross,

    I suggest that you read the guidelines again! I will no longer respond to your sarcasm & insults. I have better ways to express myself.

    November 10, 2007
  26. Griff Wigley said:

    Lisa, my post and comments were intended to be in good humor, without sarcasm or insults. Your ‘ta ta’ response to Brendon was a signal to me that you were okay with the friendly banter, that your previous statement objecting to my humor in the initial blog post was no longer an issue. When Ross made his comment about me being away, my response about you and Brendon being in charge was, again not sarcasm or an insult but a good natured poke at you both.

    Hope you understand.

    November 10, 2007
  27. Now THIS is what I need to contemplate re-entry into Minnesota (car packed, the 200 pounds of dogs should probably be sedated…), particularly where Northfield does indeed seem so nuts. Thanks for a delightful reality check!
    Brendon – for inspiration, you might want to dig through the dusties and review Thrane’s operetta, in Norwegian, about BJ and Online Muus’ divorce — something along this Norwegian tone, though in English, would be just right for the City’s antics.

    November 12, 2007

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