Though a couple were hesitant do to so, Brainerd City Council members will work to have Brainerd become a city of character.
At least through the rest of the year.
The Brainerd City Council Monday adopted a resolution, by a 5-2 vote, to take part in the Character Initiative, an enterprise put forth by council member Kevin Goedker in which council members set an example to Brainerd residents by fostering positive characteristics in the community.
The council also set up a committee of 11 people to administer the Character Initiative.
In studying the 49 positive character traits and morals council members should try to foster within the community, council member Anne Nelson Fisher said while she applauded the initiative's goals and effort she was worried that Character Initiative would only duplicate efforts by city churches and other organizations.
"I'm also concerned that several of these character traits are probably defined differently by different people and it's not the job of the council to debate moral values," Fisher said in voting against the initiative.
Council member Bob Olson, who also voted against the initiative, said he appreciated Goedker's efforts but noted such requirements were filled when he took his oath of office as a council member.
While voting in favor, council member Mary Koep expressed concern that the committee set up to administer the initiative would become the "character police, running around passing judgment against people."
"Is it going to stop back stabbing, stop double-dealing, stop double-crossing? I don't think so," Koep said. "I don't know how you not support this, but I think it's window dressing."
Nelson Fisher and Koep both expressed concern that there was no way to measure if Character Initiative would be successful.
Goedker said Character Initiative would not be a policing organization but an educational organization.
"If it doesn't start at this (council) table, it's not going to happen in this community," Goedker said.
Council President Kelly Bevans said the council can end Character Initiative and its committee at any time, but wouldn't know if it is successful or not unless it is tried.
"It would be nice to see what comes out of this," Bevans said. "It doesn't hurt to try."
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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