Questions surrounding appointments to the Brainerd Library Board will be sent to the Minnesota Attorney General's office for an opinion.
The Brainerd City Council, with a recommendation from City Attorney Tom Fitzpatrick, unanimously approved having the attorney general's office offer the city an opinion on residency requirements, term limits and term lengths for the library board.
Absent from the meeting were council member Mark O'Day and Anne Nelson Fisher and Mayor James Wallin.
The library board became a focus of the council after its Feb. 19, when council member Bonnie Cumberland expressed concern about two appointments to the board.
At that meeting and in subsequent meetings, the council sought opinions from Fitzpatrick on residency requirements, term lengths and term limits. The main issue of contention was a discrepancy between city charter and state statute, and which had authority.
At its March 3 meeting, the council approved a maximum of three six-year terms to the library board. At that meeting Fitzpatrick also said 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.
On Monday, council member Bob Olson noted, and Fitzpatrick agreed, that the city charter stated any member of a city commission, committee or board must vacate their position if they moved out of the city.
Fitzpatrick then suggested, based off conversations he's had with council members, that the city seek an opinion from the attorney general's office on all issues related to the library board.
"I apologize for creating confusion," Fitzpatrick said.
What will happen to the council's March 3 motion to set term limits and lengths, or on the council's recent appointees to the library board, will have to be decided after the city receives the opinion, Olson said.
"The ruling may be binding and we may not like what we hear, that may be true, but at least it gets it off dead center," Olson said.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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