RED WING -- The City Council will vote Monday on the creation of a task force that will focus on city government policies and practices.
This topic has been discussed by staff and council members since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 and the protests that followed.
Originally the discussion about the task force focused on the police department. However, council members and staff began thinking about using the task force to look at every branch of the city.
“What’s important to me is that we ultimately say that what we’re here to address is every nook and cranny of local government," Council member Evan Brown said during a workshop on the topic on June 29. "There’s no point in doing this if we’re not looking everywhere.”
The document that staff will present to the council on Monday states:
“The task force’s first priority will be to work alongside the police department to explore policing policies and practices, discuss best practices and options for Red Wing and make recommendations to City Council for positive changes. … When the task force meets at its first meeting, members will work together as a group to create priority focus areas of its choice. Staff and council will also keep apprised of any changes at the state level that may happen in the Minnesota Legislature’s special session regarding public safety policies.”
Staff recommends that the task force focuses on the police department for about 18 months. At the end of that period, there will be a short break before the next priority areas are decided. Now through 2021, task force members will regularly report what is being worked on to the City Council.
City staff is recommending that task force members receive $75 for each meeting attended.
Makeup of the task force
The council decided June 29 that the task force comprises 12 members, all of whom must be 18 or older. There will be two to three “alternates” in case a member needs to step down for any reason.
Staff members will attend meetings to answer any questions and to offer required assistance. During the first 18 months, Police Chief Roger Pohlman and other members of the Red Wing Police Department will participate in meetings.
The council and staff emphasized their desire to appoint a diverse group of people to the task force. The staff report for Monday’s meeting states:
“Emphasis will be on people who have not had past or present involvement in government. If someone is already a city board or commission member, this does not entirely make them ineligible for the task force.”
The proposal states that each council member will submit a list of names to Mayor Sean Dowse. He will then choose at least one name from each council member’s list when choosing the 12 members of the task force.
If the council votes yes on Monday, the task force timeline will be:
Tuesday, July 14: Application and nomination forms go out to the public. These forms will be available in Spanish and English, online and in print.
Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 4 p.m.: Nomination forms are due.
Friday, Aug. 7, at 4 p.m.: Application forms are due.
Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 4 p.m.: Deadline for each council member to get his or her list of recommendations to Dowse.
Friday, Aug. 14: The mayor is expected to use his selection process and make his list of members and alternates
Week of Aug. 17: Dowse contacts people who have been selected.
Monday, Aug. 24: Dowse shares final names of task force members with the council and the public during the City Council meeting.
Mid-September: The task force convenes.
Short applications and nomination forms will be made available online and in hard copies on Tuesday, July 14, so members of the public can apply for or nominate someone they believe should serve on the task force.
Completed forms should be sent to Michelle Leise either by mail to City Hall, 315 W. Fourth St., Red Wing, MN 55066. Attn: Michelle Leise) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Background checks will not be done on applicants and applicants who might be undocumented will not be declined for that reason. The city will provide a translator if needed.