Charter changes get tentative approvalChanges to Red Wing’s charter approved by the City Council on Monday include eliminating an acting mayor’s veto power.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Changes to Red Wing’s charter approved by the City Council on Monday include eliminating an acting mayor’s veto power.
The council unanimously approved three adjustments at its meeting, the first of which would not allow an acting mayor to veto resolutions approved by the council.
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. The position is filled by the council president or another member.
Having the ability to both vote and veto could be a conflict of interest and raises concerns about separation of powers, Chris Schrader said. He is the Charter Commission chairman.
Council members expressed concerned about how long that could leave the body without a veto.
“There’s a potential for a five-month period, for a worst-case scenario, where we wouldn’t have a veto over council action,” Council member Lisa Bayley said.
A vacancy is declared if someone is absent for more than three months and a special election must be held, which could take another two months or so.
However, council members did note if an issue was discovered in something that was passed, members who voted for a resolution always have the option to bring it back for reconsideration.
The council also approved re-wording charter language to state that Red Wing’s primary will always be the same day as Minnesota’s. That excluded references to a date or state statute, so if those change in the future the city won’t have to change its charter as well.
The third change spells out that the city is not required to hold a primary in a special election, even one with more than two candidates.
This has been the practice in the past, and “the Charter Commission is trying to codify that,” Schrader said.
“That doesn’t mean the council can’t decide there could be (a primary),” he added.
The council had discussed these changes in previous workshops, including one in late June. Members held the required public hearing Monday, but no one spoke. Another vote is necessary to finalize approval, which must be unanimous by the council and mayor.