City to county: Fill board vacancy
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Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse discussed a letter that he would like to send to the Goodhue County Board during the City Council meeting on Monday. The letter would address two commissioners' decision not to appoint a District 1 representative.
After Commissioner Ron Allen died in April from leukemia, the board has tried twice but failed to appoint a replacement.
OPINIONS: Representative government is a fundamental principle ... and is lacking in Goodhue County | Interim role is about continuing Ron Allen's legacy with Goodhue County | Lack of representation already produces no-action tie votes
The western half of Red Wing is within District 1, which means that some of the city's citizens are not currently represented at the county level, Dowse said. He gave the council a list of five points that will be included in the letter:
• The current County Board is functioning with disproportionate representation that favors rural over urban interests, over the interests of half of Red Wing' s citizens, over the interests of the Prairie Island Indian Community, and over the interests of Welch Township.
• Two commissioners representing primarily rural districts are denying representation to a primarily urban district during a period when critical county issues affecting budgets and taxation are being discussed and decided.
• The intent of the law is to fill county board vacancies and not leave a seat empty for up to 10 months.
• The appointment process initiated by the board is flawed because the same two rural commissioners created conditions for the appointment, i.e. pledging not to run for office, after the application deadline.
• The County Board has tough decisions that need five voices.
Council President Dean Hove told the mayor and the rest of the council that he is not happy with the two no-votes in the County Board, because they were able to block an appointment.
Council member John Becker noted that the county can sometimes be "dysfunction junction," but that he did not want to send a letter to the board. Becker raised the concern that by appointing someone to the vacant seat, the county would be creating an "artificial incumbent" and that this could impact the special election for the seat. He also explained that the city and county are separate entities.
The rest of the council supported sending the letter. Council member Evan Brown told Hove and Dowse, both of whom plan to sign the letter, that he not only supports it, but that he wants his name on the letter as well.
The County Board plans to discuss the District 1 appointment again at its June 18 meeting. Dowse plans to deliver the letter before the meeting.