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It’s time to change … again!

Bob Wetzler, Minot

It is so interesting following the actions of the Minot City Council. A little more than three years ago the #MakeMinot group was able to convince folks a change was needed with our city government. They decided fourteen aldermen, representing the seven Wards in Minot was just not effective. A smaller group of council members could do the job better.

After much gnawing and gnashing of teeth, the new government in Minot would consist of six council members and a mayor. The councilmen would be elected at large and the wards would go away. A better plan … or so they thought. Now the council wants to reinvent itself and the format of our government again. Guess their little plan didn’t work so well.

In three short years the new council has lost the trust of those that put them in office. They lost (perhaps they never had) control of the city manager. A city manager that conducted himself poorly. He treated staff and employees with a dictatorial hand. And no one on the council was aware this was happening?

Way to have your finger on the pulse of our city.

These are long term, committed, hardworking folks. They have lived in and served Minot for many years. And the new boy on the block did irreparable damage by providing them with poor evaluations. Definitely “a hostile work environment,” as the independent study reported. I am glad some council members publicly apologized to those who were harmed. It’s the least they could do. It may not be enough. It appears they are in the damage control cycle. The city manager snookered the council into advancing his contract renewal by about nine months, with a golden parachute clause, and only one councilman dissented. What were you people thinking? I wonder if the old council of fourteen members would have let that one slide through. I’m sure someone would have caught that slick maneuver.

So, using a worn out phrase, “as we move forward” what is going to happen? Personally, I thought the ward system worked. Citizens had a better feel when they could contact “their” alderman. Is fourteen too many? Perhaps. But six is certainly not the answer. Maybe we should go back to the ward system: elect seven aldermen, two at large members and a mayor. Nine might be a better number. It’s certainly less than fourteen. And the mayor would only vote to break a tie. Yeh, that works for me.

No matter what flavor the council chooses, it is something that should not be done hastily. Let’s wait until the new council is seated, after the June election, so the new members have a voice in the type of government they want. Let’s toss this one around a little bit, because Lord knows the #MakeMinot plan has failed miserably.

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