MADISON LAKE — The Madison Lake Police Department has a new leader after its former controversial chief was fired.
Officer Phil Wills was unanimously appointed chief on Monday. He replaces Dan Bunde, who was fired last month after two closed-door meetings.
The termination came during a special City Council meeting Oct. 15.
The council first held a closed session to “discuss allegations of misconduct and unprofessionalism,” according to meeting minutes provided by the city administrator.
The council also held a second closed meeting to “receive legal advice” about “threatened and potential legal action” involving the allegations against Bunde.
City Attorney Jason Moran would not provide any more information about the allegations, even though state law requires government entities to release “specific reasons” for any disciplinary action against a public employee.
City Council members did not respond to an invitation to comment on Bunde’s departure or Wills’ appointment.
Bunde made headlines in 2018 after he posted a video on a personal social media page mocking foreign language speakers while on vacation at Yellowstone National Park. The City Council voted to issue Bunde a verbal reprimand and require him to take a professional development class.
There had been no formal complaints against Bunde before that incident. He had been a member of the department for more than 20 years.
Wills had been serving as interim police chief since mid-August, city meeting minutes indicate. He has been a member of the department since 2012, according to a press release from City Administrator Jeff Shoobridge.
Previously Wills was police chief for the city of Eagle Lake. He started his career in 1998 as a jail officer and dispatcher for Nicollet County.
“Chief Wills is the right person to serve as the next Madison Lake police chief based on his background and training, in addition to his local connection to the community,” Shoobridge said in the press release. “He is consistently looking for ways to interact with the community and form positive relationships.”
Wills will be paid $30 an hour. The city will soon advertise for a police officer to fill Wills’ former position.