City Council again tables Charter Commission appointments
WILLMAR -- For the second time in two weeks, the Willmar City Council tabled Mayor Marv Calvin's suggested appointment of Todd Engle and Brad Hanson to fill two vacancies on the nine-member Willmar Charter Commission.
WILLMAR - For the second time in two weeks, the Willmar City Council tabled Mayor Marv Calvin’s suggested appointment of Todd Engle and Brad Hanson to fill two vacancies on the nine-member Willmar Charter Commission.
The 5-2 vote Tuesday night was the same as the vote two weeks ago when the suggested appointees were first tabled.
Those voting again to table were Rick Fagerlie, Tim Johnson, Ron Christianson, Andrew Plowman and Steve Ahmann. Voting against were Audrey Nelsen and Denis Anderson.
Also tabled were two new suggested appointees: Robert Bonawitz and Clarence (Kelly) Welch.
The council at first considered a motion to take the tabled appointments off the table for discussion. But the council re-tabled the names on a motion by Fagerlie who said he wanted a better system of letting citizens know about vacancies on boards and commissions. He also said he wanted appointees who reflected a broad representation of the city, pointing out that Engle and Hanson were both from Ward 2 and Bonawitz and Welch were both from Ward 3. He said past mayors would let council members know if they knew someone from their ward who would be willing to serve, and he wanted that procedure to continue.
Also, he said past practice was to announce the names at one council meeting and vote at the following meeting.
Calvin said he had no problem with that. He said the Charter Commission openings were announced in 2014 and are listed on the city’s website. Calvin said no names were brought forward since he became mayor in 2015 and said he told council members to bring suggested names to him.
Calvin said he thought he was following the past practice of receiving suggested names during the day and presenting them at the nightly meeting.
Interim City Administrator Kevin Halliday said that after a series of unanticipated appointments came to the council meeting and were acted on that night, the process evolved into not approving the appointments the same night they were given to the council.
He also said a detailed application form was developed to provide biographies about the appointees to council members.
Calvin said he was not aware of past process and other appointments that he suggested were done this way.
Nelsen said she did not disagree with Fagerlie’s concern about representation. But she asked for clarification on the procedure’s criteria.
“We don’t like someone?’’ she asked. “We need to be careful with what we’re doing. It’s a mayoral appointment. People in the community have the right to apply.”
City Attorney Robert Scott said there was nothing to prevent the council from tabling the appointments. He said the ultimate appointing authority to the Charter Commission is the chief judge of the district court.
Christianson said the looking for prior knowledge of the persons before they are put on the agenda.
Calvin said the council has had Engle’s and Hanson’s names for two weeks, and Calvin said he has not received any calls. “You could have motioned them to go forward and table the other two to be consistent,’’ he said.
Anderson said he was bothered by a couple of instances in the past four years when he was severely chastised by the council for questioning two appointments by the former mayor.
“If we have people that are willing to serve, who are we to say no?’’ Anderson asked. “And that happened to me twice. The mayor recommends and it’s up to use to approve it.’’