Afton City Council members' attendance discussedAfton City Council discusses council member attendance at commission and committee meetings.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Afton City Council held a brief discussion during its April 17 meeting on whether or not City Council members are allowed to attend other city commission and committee meetings.
Currently, most city committees and commissions have a designated City Council liaison; however council members may sometimes attend meetings as members of the audience.
City Council discussed whether or not council members’ attendance at these meetings could be in violation of the Open Meeting Law.
The Open Meeting Law states that three or more City Council members cannot meet to discuss city business unless publicly noticed.
Not speaking during the other city meetings has been an unspoken rule, City Council Member Randy Nelson said.
“Whether you talk or not, it’s a meeting,” City Attorney Fritz Knaak said.
When the issue was first raised during last month’s City Council meeting, the council began including an addendum on all council, committee and commission agendas that reads “A quorum of the City Council or other commissions may be present to receive information at, but not limited to, any of the following meetings: Planning Commission, the Public Works Committee, Park Committee, Design Review and Historic Preservation Commission, Lower St. Croix Cable Commission, Lower St. Croix Water Management Organization, Middle St. Croix Water Management Organization, I-94 Coalition and the 5-City Mayor’s Alliance.”
Knaak said the addendum will satisfy the Open Meeting Law requirements.
City Council agreed to continue using the addendum on all agendas and refrain from speaking, unless asked.
“You’re putting this influence before they even give you their opinion otherwise,” City Council Member Joe Richter said.
“The council’s just observing unless there’s a pressing question that has to be answered,” Nelson said.