City considers charter changesAn acting mayor would not have veto power if the City Council approves a potential change to Red Wing’s charter.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
An acting mayor would not have veto power if the City Council approves a potential change to Red Wing’s charter.
Charter Commission chairman Chris Schrader presented the council members Monday with three possible charter alterations that have been discussed among commission members and in workshops with the council.
City Council members voted unanimously to move forward in exploring the changes, but did not vote on the actual revisions.
Eliminating the acting mayor veto is likely the most controversial of the three changes, Schrader noted. There have been acting mayors in the past; Council President Ralph Rauterkus served in the position until a special election in February 2011 put Dennis Egan in the mayor’s spot.
According to the city’s charter, an acting mayor serves in the event of vacancy or because of the mayor’s inability to serve due to illness, absence from the city or other similar reasons, according to the charter. The position is filled by the council president or another member.
That could create a conflict of interest when that person gets both a vote as a council member and has the power to veto, Schrader said.
“That’s really one of those classic separation of powers issues,” he said.
Council member Mike Schultz said he agreed with the change for short-term acting mayors, but it got more difficult to support when it extends for weeks or months.
Schrader also discussed a shift spelling out that a primary is not required during a special election, though the council could still decide to hold one.
“We’ve had special elections without a primary before,” he said. “It’s simply codifying that.”
The third potential change would shift wording so the city primary election would be aligned with the state’s primary without referencing a specific statute or date in case the state changes that.
The charter changes still need to go through the public hearing process and multiple readings at council meetings. All three changes also would need unanimous council and mayoral approval. Citizens also could bring the issues to a referendum if they do not like the council’s approval.
Other charter amendments have been discussed, but most are on hold right now, Schrader said. That includes ranked choice voting, which has been tabled at least until after the 2012 election, he said.