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A Brooklyn Park City Council meeting got so heated and out of hand Tuesday night, the mayor called for a recess and then adjournment before finishing the night's agenda.

The conversation disintegrated quickly as the council discussed reprimanding Council Member Maria Tran after an independent investigator's report found she violated the city's Respectful Workplace policy and the elected officials' Code of Conduct, and upheld a staff member's allegations that Tran created a hostile work environment.

Council Member XP Lee called Tran's behavior "shameful," which set off the verbal fireworks that had council members talking over one another and Tran and Council Member Boyd Morson asking if Lee's comments constituted an attack.

"This is embarrassing for Brooklyn Park," said Council Member Nichole Klonowski, who motioned for a 10-minute recess.

Tension on the council has been brewing for months. Earlier this year, the council voted to censure Morson for the second time for violating city policies. This time, the council was dealing with Tran's behavior after the report found she openly criticized a staff member's performance and suggested that the employee step down.

The investigator, Dyan J. Ebert of Quinlivan & Hughes, found Tran went afoul of city policy with how she treated and interacted with the staff member, who had filed a complaint in January. The report also dismissed Tran's claim that bringing her concerns to the city manager as the policy requires council members to do would have been "futile."

In a closed-door session last week, Tran and the council appeared to have come to an understanding that she violated city policy and agreed upon a letter of reprimand.

"You appear to now understand how a council member's conduct can have an adverse impact on employee morale and can create potential liability for the city," the letter dated Tuesday and signed by Mayor Hollies Winston said. "Based on your self-awareness of the situation, the City Council believes that a written reprimand is the appropriate way to address the matters that gave rise to the employee's complaint."

The letter states other council members and the mayor were confident Tran would not have a repeat of the behavior and that "we look forward to working collaboratively with you on future matters."

But before the council could pass a resolution approving the reprimand, Tran appeared to turn from any mutual agreement that had been reached. Tran referenced a couple of complaints she said she raised but claimed were never addressed. One was about being bullied. A second concerned the employee who filed the complaint against her. Tran said the employee had been using drugs on city property but that it was not investigated.

There is no evidence the employee was using drugs on city property. The city manager looked into the allegation and did not find it to be true, the report said.

"If I need to find justice, I can go to court," Tran said. "I have a case. My report never got investigated."

The investigator's report found the city did respond to several of her complaints and there was "no evidence that her concerns were routinely ignored, not taken seriously or otherwise addressed."

The council reassembled to pass a motion asking staff to draft a resolution to issue Tran an official censure. Other items, including the first reading of an ordinance amending the city code regarding the sale of cannabis and use of it in public places, were tabled until the next meeting.

That action underscores other problems the council is facing.

"There appears to be no doubt that conflict exists between members of the City Council, which may be impacting how individual council members act or interact with each other during public meetings and otherwise carry out council member duties," the investigator's report noted.

Though outside the scope of its investigation, Ebert said the conflict does not justify Tran's disregard of the Code of Conducts' requirement.