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Administration seeks to reorganize: Red Wing City Council briefs

Red Wing City Council held a workshop at 5:30 p.m. Monday night to discuss the staff reorganization process and the National League of Cities federal action agenda.

"Reorganizing the administration department is a little overdue," City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said. "This efforts aims to make the backbone of city government — administration — more efficient and collaborative in nature."

Kuhlmann cited insurance issues as an example of where the city's operations could improve. According to Kuhlmann, the finance and public works departments, as well as the city clerk, have to be involved in such matters. The reorganization aims to condense that work into a single process.

The new plan would create two new positions, as well as shift current employees into new roles that might result in salary changes. Before they can support the plan, council members said they wanted to see more detailed numbers on any payroll changes.

"How can I approve this without knowing how much it will cost?" asked Dustin Schulenberg. Other council members had similar questions.

Council President Kim Beise asked to see a two-year projection for city staff payroll changes. Kuhlmann agreed to provide City Council with more information over the next few weeks, before putting the reorganization plan up for vote.

Council discusses federal action agenda

Finance Director Marshall Hallock presented City Council with a list of federal legislative priorities identified by the National League of Cities. Red Wing, along with over 1,600 other U.S. cities, belongs to the NLC. Mayor Sean Dowse and City Council President Kim Beise will attend this year's annual conference, March 11-15.

NLC's 2017 priorities are public safety, infrastructure and economic development. While the entire Red Wing City Council agreed these were critical areas, the mayor wanted to prioritize some specific items before heading to the conference next week.

"If Congress and the president can coalesce around anything, it's renewing infrastructure," offered Hallock. "That's one of the few things we've heard on both sides. Obviously Red Wing would benefit from federal action on the issue."

Council member Dustin Schulenberg stressed that Red Wing should express support for federally supported economic development tools, such as tax credit and block grant programs. Council member Evan Brown highlighted the city's need for more training and workforce development programs as well.

Meeting watch

The meeting was held at the Red Wing Public Library and lasted one hour and 15 minutes. Council members Dustin Schulenberg, Dean Hove, Dan Munson, Evan Brown and Peggy Rehder, along with Council President Kim Beise and Mayor Sean Dowse were present.

— compiled by James Clinton, contributor