A committee has been formed to outline criteria for appointment to Brainerd committees, commissions and boards.
The Brainerd City Council Monday unanimously approved having Council President Jim Dehen appoint a committee of two council members, two to three Brainerd residents and one or two city staffers to determine criteria for committee selection and to study committee term limits.
The action was spurred by a letter to the council from Ed Shaw, a Brainerd attorney and former city council candidate. In the letter, Shaw said he was concerned the selection process for city committees wasn't impartial. He noted the two applicants selected Feb. 2 for the vacant Brainerd Planning Commission positions, Jan Lambert and James Uhlman, had connections with Dehen, who appointed them. Lambert, Dehen and Uhlman's wife work together.
Shaw, who was one of seven people who applied for a position on the planning commission, said he wasn't concerned that Lambert and Uhlman were selected but how they were selected. He noted one applicant sent in an application composed of one sentence.
"(I'm concerned) that these decisions are being made on who you know not what you know," said Shaw at Monday's city council meeting.
At the Feb. 2 meeting, Dehen informed the council and the public that he worked with Lambert and with Uhlman's wife. He said both were highly qualified for the positions.
Council member Mary Koep said she was in favor of a committee to form criteria, but didn't want anyone who may be interested in joining city committees to think they had to meet certain qualifications.
"I don't want it to seem we're trying to eliminate people," said Koep. "If you're a citizen and you're interested, you're qualified in my view."
In other action, the council:
Started Monday's meeting with a moment of silence for Ole Howard, the 18-year member of the Public Utilities Commission who died Feb. 25.
Passed a resolution vacating a two-block stretch of Front Street, from South Second to South Fourth streets, for the Crow Wing County building project.
Had the second reading on a proposed ordinance adopting the Minnesota State Building Code.
Had the second reading on a proposed ordinance providing for new building permit fees and cigarette license fees.
Had the second reading on a proposed ordinance amendment rezoning the Nick Dumbeck property from rural residential to urban residential.
Set board of equalization meeting for 10 a.m. May 13.
Authorized the purchase of a new transit bus, with the city and the county paying 20 percent of the cost, which is $50,656.
Set a closed meeting to follow the city council's next meeting on March 15 for a union negotiation strategy session. The next union negotiations, with the unions for the police officer and police supervisors, are scheduled for 10 a.m. March 25.
Called for applicants for two, six-year terms on the library board; a two-year term on the library board; a five-year term on the parks and recreation board; a one-year term on the planning commission; and a one-year term on the transportation committee.
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