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Charter Commission gets through first two chapters

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont Charter Commission concluded its review of the first two chapters of the charter during its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The Charter Commission has been going through the current charter of the city, chapter by chapter since it began meeting monthly in April.

On Tuesday the Charter Commission looked at section 2.01- form of government, and made a recommendation to amend the form of government to a weak mayor council plan.

The amended charter was suggested to read, “under the weak mayor council plan, the mayor’s power is limited. The council does most of the work and the mayor directs the council meetings and does what the council asks the mayor to do.”

Charter Commission member, Spencer Seibert said, “you’re focusing so much about the mayor in that statement, when really council is the one in control of the government. Why are we talking so much about the mayor.”

Seibert said for 2.01 they should focus on the form of government and leave the specifics of the mayor’s role in section 2.06- the mayor.

It was suggested to simply add the word “weak” to the current charter, so it reads, “The form of government established by this charter is the Weak Mayor-Council Plan. The council shall exercise the legislative power of the city and determine all matters of policy.” The charter voted to recommend to amend the charter.

The Charter Commission also looked at section 2.15, regarding who appoints the city clerk, was also discussed. Charter Commission member Mike Katzenmeyer asked Fairmont City Administrator, Cathy Reynolds, to clarify who appoints the city clerk.

Reynolds said the city clerk falls under the city administrator and the council handles the city administrator and the city attorney.

Charter Commission member Chuck Omvig asked if the city council gets to approve who the city administrator appoints.

“No. That’s under the authority that’s granted to the city administrator and the 2.11 section and it’s reiterated in the code,” Reynolds said.

The Charter Commission recommended to amend the charter to read the city clerk shall be appointed by the city administrator and approved by the city council.

The Charter Commission also looked at a definition of what wards are. The description started that of the 853 cities in Minnesota, approximately 70 use wards for electing council members. Cities with wards are always organized as charter cities.

At the Sept. 21 meeting, Charter Commission recommended five wards. Fairmont currently has four wards and one councilor at-large.

Following the completed review of chapters one and two, the Charter Commission will begin packaging up recommendations to bring to the Fairmont City Council. The next Charter Commission meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 16

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