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Todd Kurtz, Forum Communications Co., Published November 18 2010

Mapleton water superintendent abruptly resigns

MAPLETON, N.D. – Mapleton’s water superintendent, Hugo Zamarron, abruptly resigned Tuesday during a special City Council meeting that was called to address his actions in an incident involving a city drain.

Before the council voted on his future, Zamarron read a statement calling out some council members and city employees for harassment and discrimination.

“I no longer feel safe and cannot continue to work in such an unhealthy and discriminatory environment,” Zamarron said. “The actions of the city and its employees have forced me to resign my position as water superintendent effective immediately.”

The issue started last week when Zamarron was showing another employee how to open a city drain. After it was opened, water came rushing into a lift station, where a construction worker was working.

Zamarron said he wasn’t aware of what had happened, but the employee with him was. That employee contacted council members, and they called the city’s lawyer.

Zamarron says no one told him about the incident until that night, and he was put on administrative leave the next day.

One council member, who backed Zamarron, said it was a clear sign he was being pushed out.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Mark Anderson called it a miscommunication.

“This council needs to do some serious soul searching,” Anderson said during Tuesday’s meeting. “I’ve asked numerous times for this council to write down exactly what they expect of these personnel, and they’ve refused, and I’m going to insist that this gets done.”

After accepting Zamarron’s resignation, the council voted 2-1 to hire the town’s old water superintendent on a temporary basis.

Kurtz is a reporter for Fargo’s WDAY TV, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.