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BE council votes down charter proposal

By Staff | Mar 4, 2012

John Gartzke

A proposal to change the Blue Earth City Charter was voted down by the City Council recently or at least it failed to pass.

The proposal came from the city’s Charter Commission to the council and was a recommendation to change the percentage of public vote that would make a change to the charter itself.

The commission wanted to change it from a simple majority of 51 percent to 60 percent.

Councilman John Gartzke questioned why the change from 51 to 60 percent was needed.

“How many times has there been a proposed change to the charter put on the election ballot in the past?” he questioned.

Mayor Rob Hammond responded, admitting there had been very few.

“Most of the changes to the charter have been proposed by the Charter Commission then voted up or down by the council,” Hammond says.

The only time anyone could recall a charter change on a ballot was the recent vote on whether to abolish the ward system or not.

A motion by Glenn Gaylord and seconded by John Huisman to accept the proposed change failed, despite the fact that the vote was 5 to 2 in favor of the change.

It takes a unanimous vote by the council to make a change to the City Charter.

A second motion did pass. This was to send the proposal back to the Charter Commission with the council’s recommendation that they put it on this fall’s ballot and let the public decide the issue.

That vote passed 6-1 with Councilman John Huisman voting nay. This motion did not need to pass unanimously.