Minot City Council halts flag raisings to develop policy

Council halts flag raisings to develop policy

Jill Schramm/MDN A POW-MIA flag flies Friday beneath the U.S. and North Dakota flag on the pole outside Minot City Hall.

No more flags will be raised outside of Minot City Hall for a while.

The Minot City Council voted for a moratorium until a policy can be developed regarding flags being flown beneath the U.S. and North Dakota flags. The decision cancels the mayor’s decision to allow the National Rifle Association to fly its flag this coming Friday.

The council decided to look at how flag approvals are given after a number of people spoke at a recent meeting to object to the flying of the Rainbow Flag on behalf of Magic City Equality, which supports the LGBTQ+ community. Since then, the POW-MIA flag has flown.

Mayor Shaun Sipma suggested a possible community flagpole, managed by an entity other than the city. Groups could apply to fly flags on that pole. He said he has been inundated with applications that he called “not respectful” as residents upset about the Rainbow Flag put in a variety of different requests to make a point.

Council members Paul Pitner and Tom Ross voted against the moratorium motion in the 5-2 vote. They indicated the NRA should be able to go ahead with its flag, which already has been approved.

“People went through the process,” Pitner said. “It was approved. I think it’d be a little disingenuous to go back on this point.”

Council President Lisa Olson said she has been contacted regarding concern for public safety if the NRA flag is flown, prompting her recommendation to hold off on flying that flag until a policy is in place.

“I think we need a time out until we have some written polices,” council member Stephan Podrygula said. “I also think if the mayor agrees to something, gives his word in a sense, we probably should honor that. But public safety is a very important concern for me.”

Sipma, who said he is a member of the NRA, had no problem with canceling Friday’s flag raising, given the escalation around the overall flag issue.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today