Longtime Duluth City Attorney Suspended; No Comment From Mayor Larson’s Office

DULUTH, Minn. – Longtime Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson confirmed to FOX 21 Wednesday that he’s been placed on administrative suspension.

Johnson said he was “shocked” to learn about his suspension last Wednesday and never saw anything of this magnitude coming from Mayor Emily Larson and her administration.

Johnson said it’s his understanding a Twin Cities law firm has been hired to investigate his job performance and concerns from the city administration.

While Johnson says he has not gotten any formal explanation for his suspension, he believes there are concerns about how he is supervising two of the 17 employees in his office.

Mayor Larson and Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman had no comment Wednesday on the suspension other than a brief statement from the city’s spokesperson, Kate Van Daele:

“Because this is a personnel matter, the city of Duluth will not provide comment at this time.”

Johnson has served as Duluth’s city attorney since 2008 under the leadership of former mayor Don Ness.

If Larson moves to fire Johnson, the city council would have the ultimate say with a vote for or against that firing, which is the same case for the position of chief administrative officer. This change in the city charter happened after former Mayor Herb Bergson infamously fired his CAO, Mark Winson, in 2005 with a note on his door.

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