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 Is Ortonville run by a Council or Committees?

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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Is Ortonville run by a Council or Committees?   Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:27 am

The past year has been very revealing in how the City of Ortonville was run. While the City Council was an elected body they only the visible part of the city machinery. The City posted the minutes of their meeting but it was the committees that had the actual job of making recommendations. They would have their meetings and then bring their recommendations to the city council and the city council would follow the recommendations. There was no real discussion and the minutes of the committees (or boards if you prefer) were filed away at the city office not readily available to the public. Looking over some of the posts made on this site about what was going on at some of those meetings and how the City Council at the time not only participated in the meetings but then gave there approval one may get the impression that transparency was not an option.

One can't help but wonder how different things would have been if those meetings had been more available to the public. The city posts it's meetings on the internet and one wonders if they should also consider posting all the committee meetings. The City Council might also at least consider making the minutes available digitally. Who ever writes up the minutes they are done on a computer. They can be sent electronically to the city and thereby ensuring the city has the minutes digitally. The city could keep the minutes in the library and that makes it easier for the public to see the minutes without having the city office run and get copies for anyone who may want to see them.

It would also be a benefit for the city to put the recorded City Council meetings on DVD and make it available for checkout at the Library. This again frees up the city office and the library is equipped to monitor items being checked out.

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: Re: Is Ortonville run by a Council or Committees?   Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:18 pm

Not only are committees (or boards) making decisions out of the direct public eye but one has to notice how the boards are made up. Who is on them? How do they get appointed? What criteria do they have to meet?

While a notice may be posted in the city office what happens is that someone comes forward and says they want to be on a board and there you have it. Some of the same people are being kept on boards and they are the ones running the show. Consider the EDA. The new City Council voted in at its first meeting to renew the appointment of Burt Nypen. There had been no announcement prior to the meeting that Burt Nypen (or Blair Johnson for that matter) was being considered for the position. It reminds one of a "Good Old Boys" club. Friends recommending friends to sit on boards and their agenda gets pushed forward. Just keep renewing and keep the power inclusive.

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: How to have an election in the Chamber.   Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:34 pm

Another example of how this is done is exemplified by the recent Chamber elections. Elections? I had called Steve Roggenbuck and in the conversation asked him how many positions were open in the upcoming election for the Chamber. He replied that there was one position open and he was on the recommendation committee. "Do you have anyone you want to recommend?" Astonishing that the Chamber never sent out any notices to the membership stating that there was an opening. Just a few people checking around at who they wanted to be on the board. After I finished talking to him I went on the Chamber website and found that there were actually THREE board members who's position was up this year. Another inquiry was made and I was informed that when board members term is up if they want to stay they are allowed to just have their positions renewed. That's an election? One can imagine that the outgoing city council members wishes the city could adopt the Chamber election procedures. To bad they didn't think of it before and voted in the chamber way of running and election by resolution before they got removed.

Is it any wonder that members are discouraged from participating? Artie Arndt resigned from the board so they ask around to fill his position? Who do they decide on? Who else, someone who has been at every board meeting and will continue the status quo.....Donnette Herberg. So much for change. Some people may call that padding the board.

In the chambers defense, we are told, they announce at the banquet that if anyone objects or has someone else to recommend then the members present may speak up. Yeah, right. By the time everyone is there like anyone is going to have the boldness to speak up. Most people will figure that it is a done deal and to speak up now would be pointless and would draw attention to themselves. Who would have the nerve to do that.

There is the other matter of who gets to vote. You see the members who attend the dinner gets to vote. So for those who pay the $20.00 (or what ever the cost is) gets to vote. I have never heard of having to pay to vote before. What I am suggesting here is that perhaps it is time to rethink how business is done in the chamber. "That is the way it is done here" is the montra.... "I have been on other business types like this and they all do it that way."

Well I have been on others and seen more inclusive and fair ways to run a membership. In the first place making an announcement to all the members of the chamber to let them know what positions are available. Allow a free election, not rubber stamp friends and never allow new people to step in. Is it any wonder that people are discouraged at how things are governed in Ortonville and lose interest in participating because they're out numbered and out gunned.

After the position is announced allow people to offer to run. The nominating committee can follow up with "every member" to see if there is an interest. Then the biggie. Let every member vote. Not just the ones who pay the money up front for dinner. There is the option of voting by proxy. Or vote by mail and then you can announce the winners at dinner instead of having a faux vote. Up to now some people may see the kind of election they were running as arranging for friends to be elected and being sure things stay the same.

People will have to decide for themselves if they want things to stay the same in Ortonville. There was an election that routed out the status quo in the City Council, but that is not where to stop. The question is do you want business done this way your home town? The Chamber has been welding power in this community and they get the financial support from it's members. Do the members support what the Chamber Board is doing? Who is running the show? The Board leaves all the planning for the events to the finance committee. Who is on the finance committee? Who knows, they don't keep minutes of who shows up at meetings and they plan an event like Winterfest that benefits only three entities in Ortonville. The newspaper, the radio, and the EDA. Why do the businesses in town have to pay for those three entities to get special treatment?

Is the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber supportive of all its members or only the special privileged few? Do we see a little Pride and Prejudice in the chamber?

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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PostSubject: This is What Happened in North Dakota   Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:00 pm

If you have not read this link, this is the end result of communities who use micro-aggression to stay in power.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100216/ap_on_re_us/us_saving_hazelton

We must break the chain if our communities are to grow.

By the way isn't Joseph Arndt related to Artie Arndt? Another act of micro-aggression.
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