Letter: Veto gives residents better governmentThis mayor has used the veto three times in two years; it had been over a decade since the power had been exercised in Red Wing.
By: John Howe, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
This mayor has used the veto three times in two years; it had been over a decade since the power had been exercised in Red Wing.
The charter gives the mayor power to veto resolutions and ordinances, but not motions.
Spring 2009, the first veto concerned the travel policy for elected officials. The policy required that all out-of-state travel be approved by the council.
The basis for vetoing was the proper procedure was not followed and the policy was too broad; it should have been limited to traveling on official city business and only when seeking reimbursement. The council realized the policy needed improvement and did not vote on the veto, but sent the policy back to city staff for changes.
Fall 2009, the second veto involved the renovation of City Hall. This veto was unanimously overridden by the council. However, when authorizing the work, the council tabled the project. Eventually, the council did what was recommended by the mayor.
There is concern about the purchasing, selling, and transferring of land by motion. The city attorney’s office believes state statute and past practice allows for this procedure. The mayor’s office recommends that it be done by resolution so there is a check and balance to spending of taxpayers’ dollars.
In researching this matter, this mayor discovered the city failed to abide by state statute with regard to the comprehensive plan. The plan requires certain actions be reviewed by the planning commission or the requirement be dispensed by a two-thirds majority resolution. This is how a change in direction was achieved on the plan to purchase the Mount Carmel property.
The last veto concerns the Kevin Smith development on Highway 61.
The mayor recommended sending the project back to the planning commission for additional review. The attempt to override this veto failed. Then the council voted 6-1 to send the project back to the planning commission.
More actions by the council should be done by resolution or ordinance, not fewer. The use of the veto gives residents an opportunity for a better outcome. It improves our city government.
John Howe is the mayor of Red Wing.