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Gardner seeks rules, order of conduct for meetings

WILLMAR -- The chairman of the Willmar City Council's Labor Relations Committee is encouraging council members to consider adopting rules and order of conduct to be used at city meetings.

Committee chairman Steve Gardner is also encouraging council members to consider adopting clearly defined rules and procedures for conflicts of interest. Gardner asked city staff to assist in gathering information for policies and procedures, and the matter will be considered at a future committee meeting.

Gardner made his requests at the Aug. 27 Labor Committee meeting.

In other business, the committee received a report from Rice Memorial Hospital officials on steps they are taking to fill the chief executive officer's position being vacated by Lorry Massa, who will resign on Sept. 26.

Hospital Board member Wayne Larson said the board will hire a professional research group tofind a replacement.

In other business, the committee met in closed session with hospital officials to discuss hospital employee contract negotiations and strategies.

A report on the committee meeting was made by Gardner during Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

In other business Tuesday, the City Council voted to support the concept and authorize a grant application to extend the hike and bike trail at the corner of Ella Avenue Northwest and the First Street Bridge.

The preliminary grant application for funding is due Sept. 9. The council agreed to guarantee the $34,000 local share of the $170,000 estimated cost, and agreed to operate and maintain the trail. The recommended source of local funding is the local option sales tax.

The council also:

- Approved the mayoral appointments of Gary Myhre to the Municipal Utilities Commission and Patti Johnson to the Community Education and Recreation Advisory Board.

- Approved special assessments for unpaid weed and grass mowing on 14 pieces of property. The grass and weeds were mowed by the city in response to complaints regarding lack of timely mowing by the property owners.

- Voted to allow the Municipal Utilities to reimburse itself for expenses incurred prior to selling a bond issue that will be used to finance construction of two wind turbines.

- Approved a request from Willmar Public Library to spend $8,000 from the library reserve fund to install wireless Internet service at the library.

- Voted to spend $3,500 for a new gate operator at the airport.

- Approved the low bid of $97,814 from Duininck Bros. of Prinsburg to construct recreation path improvements along the east side of the new County Road 5 from state Highway 40 to U.S. Highway 12 and along a short segment of Lakeland Drive from the YMCA to the path on Olena Avenue Southeast. The project will be financed by the local option sales tax.

- Voted 6-1 to re-appropriate $24,000 from the 2005 budget to the 2008 capital budget to buy and install an irrigation system for the Orange Baseball Field at Swansson Field. Council member Ron Christianson questioned the timing of the expenditure. He said the city also has other funding needs. Voting in favor were Jim Dokken, Bruce DeBlieck, Rick Fagerlie, Steve Gardner, Doug Reese and Cindy Swenson. Christianson voted against. Denis Anderson was absent.