After lengthy discussion the Faribault City Council tonight did a nearly complete flip of positions in voting for a member of the council to be on the city's Park and Recreation Board.

Parks and Recreation Director Paul Penansky summarized the resolution, "By changing composition of the board it allows one city council person to be appointed annually to the board.  Up to one non-resident to be appointed on the board that lives within the school district.  That is currently in place now and we use that so we don't get too far out.  We don't want to just call it a non-resident because that could get them too far away from the city limits.  A minimum of 5 residents of the community and they have three year scattered terms.  Plus the council also appoints for us a student representative to be on the board."

The resolution proposed for the council made the appointee a voting member on the board.

Council Member Royal Ross asked if the board was okay with the change.  Penansky hesitated with his answer saying they do see themselves as a citizen advisory board but added the members did get the sense this was going to happen.

Ross stated, "I'm not making a motion or anything but I think we should maybe consider it being a non-voting position, but that's just my inclination."

Council Member Jana Viscomi has been requesting a council representative be on the Parks and Recreation Board for some time and said she agreed with Ross, "Because a lot of things that they decide on that level is going to end up coming up to our level.  So I don't know where you would need a double representation.  Does that make sense?"

Mayor Kevin Voracek wanted to verify her desire to have a non-voting member on the board.

She replied, "Yes exactly, because I think the intent of this is just so that you can be that connection between these two committees.  Us and this organization or this group of people."

Council Member Tom Spooner asked where it would stop.  Whether there would be council members appointed to the planning or airport board, "Start having council people on every board.  Councilman Viscomi you've been pushing for this.  I think it's great for communication but where do you stop?"  He said he also favored the council person be a non-voting member.

Council Member Johnathan Wood agreed, "I think there's 46 parks in town and there's been at least a half a dozen times where something came to us on a council level and then we played catch up to make our decision.  So this just gives an opportunity for more communication but I think it should just be advisory."

City Administrator Tim Murray questioned why there needed to be a change saying, "Any member of the council can go to any park and rec board meeting they want to now. Just like the rest, they're public meetings. You have staff that really does serve as the liason between the council and the board.  I guess if you don't want a voting member as one of the seven regular seats you may want to ask do you even want to have a designated council person.  If you do that you're still going to have six council members at a meeting when something ultimately comes to you for approval that will have no idea what was said at that meeting.  I just want to throw that out there."

Mayor Voracek piggybacked on those comments, "I was originally thinking that this would be a voting position and they would have the opportunity to craft a little bit more of what the park board is creating but as an advisory role how much input to you really get?"

Viscomi pointed out the council has representation on charitable gambling and tourism boards so if it makes the most sense to have the person be a voting member than she was, "Fine with that too."

Viscomi made the motion and Wood seconded to pass the resolution including the stipulation that the appointed council member be a voting member.

It passed unanimously.


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