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Editorial: Our City Council needs to be fixed

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opinion Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The time has come for the Willmar City Council to start acting appropriately and demonstrate the necessary leadership for the betterment of this community and in accordance with its regional center status.

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This responsibility lies primarily with Willmar City Council members and Mayor Frank Yanish. Some of these city leaders have been not fulfilling this responsibility.

The growing dysfunction of this City Council and mayor is a significant problem for the city of Willmar.

As a regional center, Willmar should be viewed as a city with strategic vision, strong leadership, outstanding governance, innovative organization, creative policymaking, strategic partnerships and regional leadership.

Willmar has not always been viewed this way in recent years.

These failures are reflected in the city's reputation among its citizens, business leaders and other government officials within Kandiyohi County and around west central Minnesota. There is a growing concern about the City Council's dysfunction, lack of leadership, unwillingness to reform, lack of civility and lack of accountability.

One needs to look no further than the West Central Tribune article Friday about longtime member Doug Reese's concerns about the City Council and its behavior. He criticized other council members and Yanish on a number of issues. Reese should be commended for speaking out and holding council members accountable for their actions. The council's dysfunction has become significant and it is hurting our community.

We have been writing about some of our concerns with the Willmar City Council. Specific examples include:

• The City Council failed to adopt appropriate rules of order. Some believe they do not need to follow any rules or that the city is their individual fiefdom.

• The City Council recently rejected a recommended consultant assessment of the city's organization structure. Some council members believe they alone know what is best for the city of Willmar.

• Some council members' uncivil communication to and/or constant questioning of the city administrator, city department heads and city staff in public and/or in private. This can eventually create an inappropriate work environment, which is detrimental and become a legal liability.

• Some council members seek an inappropriate management role within the city administration and/or departments. This can undermine the city administrator, city department heads and the city organizational structure.

• Some government entities and their leaders have become frustrated in dealing with the Willmar City Council and/or some council members.

• A lack of understanding or ignorance by some council members of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law and the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

The time has come for Willmar's citizens and organizations to demand better leadership, civility, reform and accountability from the City Council and its members. If this does not happen immediately, citizens must start holding individual city council members accountable.

Willmar must develop a strategic vision for this city and its role within west central Minnesota. This city needs a City Council that functions and can fmove this city forward and meet the critical needs of this decade.

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