Charter Commission Minutes

June 22, 2004

The Hopkins Charter Commission met on June 22. Present were Commission members: David Day, John Frane, Marjorie Hance, Fran Hesch, John Hutchison, Roger Johnson, and Charles Kritzler. Assistant City Manager Jim Genellie was also present.

  1. Call To Order
    The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm.
  2. Approval of Minutes for April 27, 2004
    Commissioner Day moved and Commissioner Hance seconded a motion to approve the minutes of April 27, 2004. The Commission voted to approve the minutes. Commissioner Hutchison abstained.
  3. Communications
    None
  4. Old Business
    1. Board of Equalization
      The Commission voted, at the April 27 meeting, to amend the charter by adding the following language to the beginning of Section 7.03: Unless the City Council provides otherwise as permitted by law.
          Commissioner Hesch moved and Commissioner Kritzler seconded a motion to approve Commission resolution 2004-01 recommending that the Hopkins Municipal Charter be amended by Ordinance 2004-925.
          Commission Hutchison asked whether state law allowed City Councils to appoint a citizen body to act as the Board of Equalization. He thought that the Board of Equalization should consist of elected officials. Mr. Genellie said that Minnesota Statute 274.01, Section 2 did allow City Councils to appoint a Special Board of Review that could consist of non-elected residents.
          A poll of the vote was as follows: Commissioner Day, aye; Commissioner Frane, aye; Commissioner Hance, aye; Commissioner Hesch, aye; Commissioner Hutchison, Nay; Commissioner Johnson, aye; Commissioner Kritzler, aye. The motion passed.
    2. Ranked Ballot Voting
      Commissioner Hesch explained how Ranked Ballot Voting or Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) works. She urged the Commission to support the creation of a task force that would study Alternative Voting and make a recommendation regarding its adoption by the City of Hopkins. Commissioner Hesch presented a resolution that would support the creation of such a task force.
          Commissioner Hutchison was concerned about the composition of the task force. Would all the participants be predisposed to supporting Alternative Voting Systems? Commissioner Hesch responded that she would like to see supporters, opponents, and those who have no opinion on the task force.
          Several Commission members voiced concern over this form of voting. They felt that it could be confusing and might discourage voters. Most Commissioners thought that it was worth additional study even if they did not think that it would provide all of the benefits that advocates thought.
          Commissioner Hance thought that a local committee would not be the best place to study such an issue. She suggested the League of Women Voters or the Humphrey Institute.     Commissioner Hesch said that the League is studying the issue but only as it concerns elections where there is one office open, such a mayor, and not those case where multiple offices are being contested like Council Members.
          Commissioner Johnson moved and Commissioner Kritzler seconded the motion to approve the resolution endorsing the formation of the Alternative Voting Task Force. After considerable discussion, Commissioners Johnson and Kritzler agreed to amend their motion to remove any mention of FairVote Minnesota from the resolution and change the duties of the task force to "obtain, study, and evaluate data" on alternative voting methods. The task force will report back to the Commission no later than the 2005 annual meeting of the Charter Commission.
          The Commission voted unanimously in favor of the amended resolution.
  5. New Business
    1. The Commission agreed to schedule its next meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 6:30 pm.
  6. Adjournment
    Commissioner Hance moved and Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned by unanimous consent.