Roger Knutson Farewell

Roger Knutson is given the Maple Leaf award during a Chanhassen City Council meeting on Oct. 12.  Pictured from left: Councilor Julia Coleman, Councilor Jerry McDonald, Roger Knutson, Mayor Elise Ryan and Councilor Dan Campion.

After 37 years of service, Chanhassen City Attorney Roger Knutson is retiring at the end of the month.

Knutson, who earned his law degree at the University of Minnesota and co-founded the firm Campbell Knutson in 1986, has been the city attorney for Chanhassen, Edina, Falcon Heights, Plymouth and Cannon Falls for decades. Known for his leadership, kindness and wisdom, he kept his calm throughout any situation facing the city, said Mayor Elise Ryan.

Mayor Ryan, Chanhassen City Council members and former and current city staff held a short ceremony at the Oct. 12 council meeting to recognize Knutson and his service to the city with the Maple Leaf Award.

While he was concise and reserved in responses — his letters were often two sentences, with the second being “call me with questions” — if printed, his accomplishments would fill a ream of paper, Ryan added. To Knutson, a win was the city’s win, she said.

“He was the go-to person to keeping us out of trouble, while helping the council understand the flexibility under the law,” said Mayor Ryan.

Todd Gerhardt, who recently retired after 20 years as Chanhassen city manager, also spoke at the ceremony. Gerhardt worked with Knutson for 34 years and saw him as a mentor when starting in the field, he said.

“The only thing Roger had at his desk was a file cabinet and city code books for each city he represented,” Gerhardt said. “And in most cases, he didn’t even use the books because he had them memorized.”

Councilor Jerry McDonald, who is also an attorney, thanked Knutson for seeing the city through until the end and not leaving them in a lurch.

“Thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts and appreciation for everything you’ve done for us,” Gerhardt said. “Your fingerprints are all over Chanhassen.”

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