By Roger Utnehmer
Sturgeon Bay’s decisive city council majority inherits significant responsibility to restore trust, civility and transparency to local government.
That can be accomplished by;
…a return to evening meetings of the city council. Doing so will allow more people to seek public office than possible when meetings are held during daytime hours.
…a return to public comments at city council meetings. The people deserve to be heard.
…the formation of an ethics committee to assure even the appearance of conflicts of interest do not taint pubic trust in elected and appointed officials.
…abolition of the controversial and problem-plagued Waterfront Redevelopment Authority. The WRA is responsible for poor development decisions and has been a magnet for litigation. Authority is better placed on the Plan Commission and council itself.
…a stated preference for open meetings rather than secret sessions. Far too many decisions have been made behind closed doors. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Sturgeon Bay will be better served by far fewer secret meetings.
…adoption of rules that empower council members to add items to be discussed at council meetings. The lack of any council discussion of efforts to save the Teweles and Brandeis granary reeks of abuse of power that would have been avoided had individual council members been able to add discussion to meeting agendas.
…a greater role for council members approving mayoral appointments to committees and commissions. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson proved his graciousness in victory by appointing political rivals to prominent positions. Sturgeon Bay is a divided community. Populating committees and commissions with more diverse opinion will help divisions heal.
Government derives its power from the consent of the governed. Sturgeon Bay voters have given their consent to a new majority. May they never forget from where their power derives.
That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear yours.