Ely pulls out of RAMS until Tomassoni matter resolved

Ely, MNTom Coombe, editor of the Ely Echo, tweeted this breaking news tonight. The City of Ely is pulling out of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS) until the controversy surrounding the hiring of sitting State Sen. David Tomassoni as the RAMS executive director is resolved.

It’s been a brutal week for Tomassoni, and deservedly so. We reported last week that the senator had accepted the position as RAMS executive director even though the organization’s primary purpose is to lobby the legislature on behalf of Range cities and schools. When Tomassoni said he would be taking an unpaid leave of absence during the legislative session to justify the move, a collective guffaw could be heard across the state of Minnesota.

Last weekend, Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin penned a powerful take-down of Tomassoni’s arguments, further detailing the conflict of interest. Today, Sally at Bluestem Prairie detailed how even former U.S. Sen. and current dark money wizard Norm Coleman attacked Tomassoni, and did so using the moral high ground. Repeat, Coleman runs a Super-PAC, and still comes out smelling better than Tomassoni.

Senate Republican Leader Sen. David Hahn demanded an ethics committee inquiry. Even DFL Majority Leader and fellow Iron Ranger Tom Bakk cooly referred the matter to the campaign finance board for a ruling.

The only defense of Tomassoni that has been publicly uttered has come, quizzically, from a pair of Republican State House members — Hamilton and Garofalo — whose support appears to be more personal than related to best practices.

Ely might be just one of a couple dozen members of RAMS, but their pulling out of the organization is the kind of action that could have an enormous effect on the debate. If RAMS can’t keep its cities and schools together, it ceases to be relevant at all.

I repeat my earlier call for Sen. Tomassoni to select RAMS or the Senate. Frankly, given the state of his credibility right now, Tomassoni would probably be best served taking the higher-salaried RAMS job … while he still can.


  1. John Ramos says

    Well, Ken’s prediction that this will go away quietly because Tomassoni is a DFLer has certainly been borne out.

  2. Tom Coombe reminds me of Ron Coomer.

  3. Sally Jo Sorensen says

    Good post. I disagree about Hamilton and Garfalo’s support being personal. Rather, I think it’s part of the Big Ag and Big Energy deals with Big Mining that Republicans and Rangers make, all the while bashing “metro-centric” DFLers who’ve lived in rural Minnesota since Trix’s great-grandmother was a pup.

  4. I’m so glad I was wrong on this going away quietly. I’ve become so used to business as usual with whatever Range politicians do I figured this is the same. I guess the forgiving of 15M to the Delta call center, the boondoggle of Essar, constant flow of tax money going to Giants Ridge, chop sticks plants and other money losing projects up here that have Range politicians finger prints all over them are ok. It’s when we see a guy double dip with our money to the tune of 90,000 total (wonder what his kick back % is) and clearly have a conflict of interest we finally rise up to stop it. With all the other projects up here that have shady ties to politicians that cost us 10’s of millions, we turn a blind eye.

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