Embattled New Bloomfield mayor resigns, cites poor health

5 months 2 days 8 hours ago Tuesday, May 15 2018 May 15, 2018 Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:00:00 PM CDT May 15, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director

NEW BLOOMFIELD — Mayor Greg Rehagen of New Bloomfield resigned Wednesday and some residents said it's about time.

Rehagen cited medical issues as he recovers from one surgery and faces another. But some people say that might not paint a complete picture.

The mayor and other city leaders have been under fire for a series of budget and government decisions, including one that left New Bloomfield without a police department.

The Facebook group Committed Citizens for the City of New Bloomfield was created to vocalize people's frustrations.

Founder Cheri Wilson said she thinks that pressure, coupled with health issues, led Rehagen to step down.

"He was being pressed pretty hard about the whole no question and answer thing, and a member of our group was pressing pretty hard on legal matters. The mayor was in a pretty serious accident, he had a tree fall on him, and he said he had to have some additional surgery. I think it might be a combination of the two," Wilson said.

Another member of the Facebook group said she's relieved.

"It is something that needed to happen for a while and hopefully other council members follow suit behind him," Sarah Dunbar-Simms said. "We need significant changes within this community, and this is a start in the right direction."

New Bloomfield residents have raised concerns about the town's budget, especially why there's no money for the police department. The town recently agreed to pay Holts Summit $20,000 so its officers would patrol New Bloomfield. 

The town's last member of the police department, Chief Greg Mooney, was forced to resign for violating social media policy. He frequently posted to Facebook about what was happening with city leaders.

New Bloomfield residents say they have been frustrated by the city leadership's reluctance to make their meetings and actions public.

"The city council members are not willing to give answers to simple questions," Dunbar-Simms said. "And the secretive nature of the council is off putting and the town has really just had enough of the run around excuses."

Wilson said Rehagen's resignation announcement came as a surprise.

"It caught us all off guard," she said.

Martha Siegel will take over as interim mayor. 

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