Commentary: Removing partial oversight of MUC is a good idea
Responding to the editorial regarding "Removing oversight of MUC is a bad idea," I believe the Tribune did its readers a disservice by not validating facts before printing the editorial.
1. The reasons given for suggesting that the City Council veto power be changed and then only in respect to day-to-day operational and personnel issues were inaccurately reported. I may have said "to operate without interference" and to avoid the potential for second guessing. These statements were not the reasons why six of the eight members of the Charter Commission voted in favor of making these changes. The reasons given were because of actions and inactions resulting from the City Council's Veto power and were presented during the meeting with the City Council on July 19.
2. The City Council oversight remains in place, in any case, as they are the people who select and appoint the members of the Rice Hospital board and MUC Commission. In addition, the recommendation made by the Charter Commission require that the City Council approve rate increase, contracts exceeding 5 years in length, contracts for more than $100,000 and when purchasing, leasing and/or selling land or buildings.
3. The editorial should, in my opinion, have mentioned that Willmar stands pretty much alone in regard to this City Council veto power issue. Most cities do not operate in this manner and especially cities which are governed by State Statute and are required to operate independent of the City Council. I mention this only to point out that for most city council's to operate absent such veto power is not unusual at all. In fact, it is the way most Minnesota cities operate.
4. The editorial mentions that the Charter Commission took "various votes on the issue." Two votes were taken -- one to leave the Charter as currently written (this failed by a vote of 5-3) and one vote to make the limited changes recommended by the Charter Commission (this prevailed by a vote of 6-2).
5. The editorial suggests that I may be well intentioned but may also have an MUC bias. I am and have been biased only because I believe it is in the best interest of the City. To suggest that I may be biased due to my involvement with MUC is irresponsible. By the way, I would be interested in knowing what led to the suggestion that two of the six of voting in favor of the recommendation were "pushing" this matter?
6. As to why we did not make such a recommendation for Rice Hospital. Anyone who listened to my remarks should have known that if the recommendation for MUC was accepted by the City Council, the same would be recommended for the Rice Hospital. We just simply knew this was a significant issue that, although mentioned only for the MUC, applied to both business enterprises.
Bob Bonawitz of Willmar is chairperson of the Willmar Charter Commission and former MUC chairperson. chair chairperson of the Willmar Charter Commission and former MUC chairperson.chairperson of the Willmar Charter Commission and former MUC chairperson.