Fairmont, Minnesota 56031

(507) 399-0060


Issues: Charter amendments

Under Minnesota law, every home rule city must have a charter commission with the ability to examine the charter and propose amendments. The amendments that it proposes can either be adopted by the Council, or else by vote at a general or special election. Fairmont's Charter Commission has proposed a series of 10 amendments to be voted on at the November election.


The first 8 of these amendments were presented to Council for possible adoption. They range from changing the Council from four wards and one at-large member to five single-member wards, to "clarifying" the form of government, to granting individual Council members the authority to "open an inquiry" into city operations, to including detailed job qualifications for the city administrator in the charter.


These amendments range from merely confusing and meaningless all the way to actively harmful to city operations. Despite claims of some commission members, no other city in Minnesota has provisions relating to the detailed qualifications of the city administrator, and exactly one has chosen to "clarify" the form of government as specifically "weak mayor-council"; the remainder either do not specify at all or else simply say "mayor-council". The "clarification", and the job qualifications, are a thinly veiled shot at a mayor and administrator the majority of the commission dislikes and treats as the enemy.


The commission proclaims that the amendments were all adopted by large majorities of the commission. I believe that they do not represent the people of Fairmont, with a determined few pushing their agenda on the rest. Many people left the commission because they were bullied by a few. Fortunately, the commission is not the final arbiter; the voters of Fairmont are, and I believe they will see through this partisan attempt to remake the city government.


I oppose the first 8 amendments, and call on the citizens of Fairmont to reject them. Amendments 9 and 10 are beneficial, and should be adopted. 

Council member Britney Kawecki posted a video to Facebook supporting the amendments, and said that she didn't think anyone would oppose them. She wanted to hear the rationale of anyone who did.


Here's my response. Fair warning: it's just under 20 minutes long.