Two weeks after their appointments were put on hold, Kadee O'Day and Sherri Goedker were given six-year terms on the Brainerd Library Board.
But their appointments Monday by the Brainerd City Council were not unanimous and followed changes to the structure of the city's library board.
Kadee O'Day, no relation to council member Mark O'Day, and Sherri Goedker, who is council member Kevin Goedker's sister-in-law, were approved Monday by a 4-3 vote, with council member Bob Olson, Bonnie Cumberland and Anne Nelson Fisher opposed.
Cumberland had previously made a motion, which Olson seconded, to indefinitely postpone the appointments because she still had questions about the process. That motion failed by a 4-3 vote, with council members Mark O'Day, Lucy Nesheim, Kevin Goedker and Kelly Bevans opposed.
At the Feb. 19 council meeting, Cumberland asked that the appointments be postponed to allow City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick to research term limits for city boards, commissions and committees and who can be appointed to them.
On Monday, Fitzpatrick brought back his recommendations, noting that because the city is part of a regional library system it can appoint county residents as long as a majority of the city's appointed board members live within the city.
As for library board term length, Fitzpatrick in a memo informed the council that state statute calls for library board appointments to be three years instead of six, as is stated in the charter.
For library board term limits, Fitzpatrick wrote that though the city's charter does not set them state statute notes that an member should not be eligible for more than three consecutive terms.
During the council meeting, Fitzpatrick clarified his interpretation of term length, saying because the city charter listed six-year terms for the library board prior to term lengths being outlined in state statute, the city could continue with six-year terms if it chose.
"I recommend you consider implementing some kind of term limit," Fitzpatrick said. "Other than that we can feel quite free to operate as we do."
The council, by a 5-2 vote, approved a maximum of three six-year terms to the Brainerd Library Board. Voting against were Olson and Cumberland.
Cumberland said 18 years was a long time for someone to serve on the board and that the city needed more change more rapidly. She also asked council members for feedback on how the city can get residents interested in serving on boards, commissions and committees. She said there may be a need to balance boards by age, gender, where members live or by their qualifications.
Olson said allowing three six-year terms accomplished nothing for instituting term limits or lengths. He also questioned whether allowing such term lengths violated state statute, referring to Fitzpatrick's memo to the council.
The council on Monday didn't look at term lengths or term limits for other boards, commissions or committees. Fisher said she was hesitant to do so because of the differences in term lengths and experience needed on other city committees. Her motion to direct Fitzpatrick to research how other city boards, commissions and committees are affected by state statute was approved unanimously.
Cumberland also said other boards, commissions and committees may want to consider looking at creating their own bylaws about who can serve and for how long.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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