Rochester City Charter Amendments Would Impact Library & Parks
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester Charter Board is being asked to consider some proposed changes to the city's "constitution" involving the Rochester Park Department and Public Library.
Currently, the members of the Library Boards are appointed by the Mayor and are nearly autonomous when it comes to staffing, operational, and policy decisions. The Park Board enjoys the same powers, but its members are picked by the City Council and the Mayor. The annual budgets for the Public Library and Park systems, still require the approval of the City Council.
Fifth Ward City Councilmember Shaun Palmer is proposing two significant modifications. While the Library and Park Boards would retain most of their autonomous powers, the proposals would shift the responsibility for hiring and supervising the Library and Park Department Directors to the City Administrator, who currently has that responsibility for all other city department heads.
The second proposal would spread out the responsibility for appointing members of the Library Board among members of the City Council and the Mayor. Under the plan, each City Councilmember would appoint one member to the board from a list of applicants residing in the ward they represent. Three “at-large” members would be chosen by the City Council President and the Mayor, with the Mayor appointing two members for each governing body from among applicants living anywhere in the city.
The Park Board members are already chosen by a similar method, but the proposed amendment would change the language for the Park Board appointments to have both boards chosen by the identical process.
City Councilmembers appeared on News-Talk 1340 KROC-AM and 96.9 FM's Rochester Today Show Monday morning and discussed the proposals.
If the Charter Commission approves the proposals, they would be presented to the City Council for consideration. A unanimous vote by the City Council in favor of the proposal is needed to adopt the charter amendments. If they fail to win approval, the Charter Commission would have the option of putting the proposals on the ballot for the next election to have voters decide the issue.