Gridlock over appointments leaves EDC board short of members
WILLMAR — Gridlock over the appointment process has left the joint operating board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission two members short.
If the issue isn’t resolved soon, it could be May before the board is back to its full complement of seven members.
In the meantime, board members are carrying on. But Bev Dougherty, chairman of the board, said this week that she’s concerned about the potential for hamstringing the board’s ability to fully function.
“It’s never happened before,” she said of the delay in finalizing board appointments.
Two members went off the board at the end of 2013, leaving two vacancies. Under the bylaws, new members are nominated either by the mayor of Willmar or by one of the Kandiyohi County Commissioners, depending on the geographic requirements of the vacancy.
But so far, only one candidate — Linda Kacher, of Willmar — has been named, and her nomination by Willmar Mayor Frank Yanish was approved by the City Council by a bare margin for forwarding to the joint powers board of the Economic Development Commission.
The joint powers board, comprised of three county commissioners and three Willmar City Council members, has ultimate authority over appointments to the EDC operating board.
The board meets only quarterly, however, and its next meeting won’t take place until late April.
Unless the joint powers board decides to have a special meeting, May would probably be the soonest that the operating board will be back to full membership.
“Almost half the year will be gone,” Dougherty said.
The situation also has altered the threshold for a board quorum.
Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commission, said the board has been advised by its attorney that with two vacancies, the quorum for conducting a meeting has been lowered from four to three members.
The board just managed to have a quorum for its meeting this past week. Three members — Dougherty, Rollie Boll and Bob Carlson — were present; Bob Enos and Gary Gilman were not.
That meant any votes that were taken had to be unanimous, otherwise the measure couldn’t pass.
Dougherty said it’s important for the board to have enough voices contributing to the discussion. The vacancies make it more challenging, she said. “It would be better to have more input but we don’t control that.”