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City to determine who makes appointments

Should the council president be making committee appointments or should those come from the mayor?

That’s a question the city of Brainerd will look into in greater detail. Administrator Dan Vogt provided research Monday into a language conflict between sections in the city’s charter which at one point says the council president will make all appointments to standing and temporary committees and another section and specific state and other ordinances that give that preference to the mayor. 

Council President Mary Koep previously raised the issue at a  recent committee meeting.

Vogt said there is a conflict in the charter language between sections. For example, Transportation Committee members are currently nominated by the mayor and approved by the council. If the city makes a change to have the council president handle all appointments not specifically listed for the mayor, such as the Public Utilities Commission and Park and Recreation Board, for example, the council president would handle appointments to the Transportation Committee. The council asked the Tom Fitzpatrick, city attorney, to look at the charter language and come back with an opinion in early July. 

In other business, the council: 

Heard the city of Brainerd is planning a town meeting at city hall with a focus on two or three main subjects, such as city budget and where cutbacks should be. 

A proposed conflict of interest policy is in the draft stages with the Personnel and Finance Committee taking more time to look at the subject before bringing it back to the council. 

Heard from Alan Gunsbury, who spoke to the council regarding the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance. 

Approved an application for a temporary beer on sale for the Brainerd Jaycess for a July 9-10 event at Stewart C. Mills Field on Q Street in northeast Brainerd.

Heard a presentation by Mark Ostgarden, city planner, regarding an amendment to the city code regarding trees on the public right of way and the regulation of weeds and grass growth. 

Ostgarden said now the city doesn’t allow the use of alternative grasses, such as ornamental grasses because there is a grass height limit of 6 inches. He said with environmental considerations some people wish to have options beyond mowing and watering traditional turf grass.

The council reported it would consider suggestions and bring the subject back to the council meeting for the first week in July. 

Scheduled the 2010 audit presentation with a suggested date of 5:30 p.m. June 23.

Scheduled a joint meeting with the Planning Commission regarding the zoning map 5:30 p.m. on July 12 in the conference room. 

Accepted the resignation of Doug Kuepers from the Airport Commission with regret. 

Called for applicants to the Cable TV Advisory Committee with one term expiring Dec. 31, 2013 and for the Park Board with one term expiring Dec. 31, 2012. Park Board Chairman Brian Phelps resigned for medical reasons. Greg Roberts, vice chairman, was named chairman. Barb Egan was named vice chairwoman. 

Heard the Park Board voted to change the pavillion rental policy to require payment and a customer signature within 14 days of a reservation, instead of the previous policy asking for payment and a signature 30 days before the reservation date. The Park Board reported the change was sought because staff was often left trying multiple times to reach people to confirm reservations. 

Learned the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe donated $500 toward construction of dugouts on Field 2 at Buffalo Hills-Lions Park. In addition, the Park Board reported it agreed to spend $750 from adult softball late fees to complete the construction. 

Heard Norway pines saplings from the DNR, donated from Harvey Camberlain, were planted behind the softball outfield fences at Mill Avenue Park. 

Learned the Brainerd Fire Department responded to 37 calls in May for a dollar loss of about $65,000. 

Met in closed session to consider a counter offer on city land north of Shipman Auto and in a closed session to update the council on litigation regarding College Drive. 

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at or 855-5852.