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GV Council, Human Rights Commission Square Off Tonight

The commission was suspended, now its future may be decided at a meeting tonight.

What begin as an acrimonious meeting at a Golden Valley City Council and city manager work session in early November is expected to come to a head around 5 p.m. today (Tues.).

Issues between the council and the Golden Valley boiled over at the work session when it was suggested by the commission that a task force be considered to look at and address use of force by city police officers.

The suggestion came on the heels of a couple of recent incidents, one in which the city paid out damages in a case brought against the police department involving use of force, and in which a city officer was involved a fatal shooting on I-394 which left a

The idea of a task force–or at least the way it was suggested–did not resonate well with the majority of the five-member city council. As a result, the commission was "suspended" until at least a decision is reached either at, or shortly after, the upcoming meeting on Dec. 6.

What exactly the outcome will be is anyone’s guess.

"No one knows and that’s why we want to sit down with the commission and try and work this out," said Mayor Linda Loomis. "I know I have not made up my mind and won’t do so until we have the meeting."

Currently, the commission, structured to have up to 12 members, has just four. It, as well as some other commissions and citizen voluntary advisory groups, have not always been at the maximum number of members allowed by city ordinance.

Two of the member who were reached–Anne Dykstra and Marion Helland–would not comment on the current situation, deferring until after the upcoming meeting.

Council Member Mike Freiberg said he has "no idea" what the outcome will be.

"I want us to work this out, but I am concerned that this could have a chilling effect on filling future vacancies on our commissions if people perceive there could be issues with the city council."

He said he didn’t especially agree with the way the commission broached the subject of a task force.

"For one thing, the police chief (Stacy Carlson) was not present at the work session."

It is important to note that the four commissioners haven’t been dismissed, but rather, the commission has been suspended pending a decision coming out of the upcoming meeting and, undoubtedly, behind-the-scenes discussions to clarify procedures in the future on recommendations from the commission.

The meeting between the council and the commission will begin at 5 p.m. prior to the normal 7 p.m. council meeting in the .

Daniel Peters December 06, 2011 at 02:46 PM
How is it that the city council made up of citizens, can suspend a council of volunteer citizens, because they don't agree with them?
Brad Kadue December 06, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Not sure if your looking for an answer from a legal perspective, and I'm no lawyer or legal expert anyhow, but I'll give you my thoughts: Golden Valley is a "statutory Plan B" city. Minnesota Statute says that for Plan B Cities, the council itself must perform all duties and excercise all powers that are sometimes granted to Board and Commissions in other types of cities. The council, however, MAY create boards or commissions to advise them on policy. If created, it is the council that appoints commissioners. I would suspect that if statute grants council the authority to create, then it logically grants them the authority to suspend or disband if it feels a commission has acted outside of it's purview. The statute for Plan B is 412.601 to 412.821 if your interested.
Daniel Peters December 07, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Thank you Brad for the "legal" explanation. I guess I was implying that, the council didn't like what they said, so "they can't be part of us anymore". Chief Carlson wants the Commission eliminated and then the commission comes out with a statement about reviewing the police dept. policies, and then the council suspends the commission. Just reading between the lines.

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