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Bismarck Mayor: Social media attacks on city employees unwarranted

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Bismarck City Commission
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Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken said attacks on City employees will not be tolerated.

Bakken was responding to recent social media attacks on Bismarck City Attorney Janelle Combs and Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health director Renae Moch. Both reported being harassed on social media platforms for their work on mask mandates to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Moch said she had been called a "Nazi" and a "tyrant."  Combs said she had been threatened with physical harm.

"That will not be tolerated," Bakken said at Tuesday's City Commission meeting. "That does not make for good discussions and good government."

Bakken said the irony is that most of the claims leveled were for staff carrying out the Commission's request, or assisting with handling orders imposed on the city by a federal or state entity.

"These type of attacks have only hurt thre credibility of those folks who have been working on those topics," Bakken said.

Bakken also read a statement by former mayor Marlon Haakinson – who was supporting Combs and Moch. And he said if someone has an issue with a city employee, that person should approach the commissioner who has that portfolio.

Only one person spoke against Combs at Tuesday’s meeting – he called for her to be fired.

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