Charter Commission recommends code of conduct for Bemidji City Council

The Bemidji Charter Commission made a number of formal recommendations in their meeting Thursday.

This is an eight-citizen, court-appointed commission that oversees city government structure and recommends changes either to the council or as a question to voters as permitted by state statute, for instance, the local ballot question in 2020 that asked if the mayoral term should be a two-year or a four-year term.

The commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation to the Bemidji City Council to establish a code of conduct and ethics for itself. In the discussion, James Ravnikar said a code of ethics is redundant with elected officials.

Rita Albrecht said censure is not an option without a code of conduct, but the council establishing a code of conduct for itself is not a punishment.

The commissioners also made unanimous recommendations to the council to support a resolution from Fair Vote MN, to allow ranked-choice voting for city elections.

The Charter Commission also discussed numerous recent council vacancies and whether or not to extend the eligibility for an appointed term and who could select applicants, and also discussed the council setting agendas versus city staff.

No action was taken on either item.

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