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Notices Lost in Translation?

Public Notices as of 5:15 pm Dec 8th on City webpage.

New Commission list from City webpage, 5:15 pm, Dec. 8th. No openings listed.

Public announcement postings delayed

Two timely public notices were in this week’s Ely Echo, the official newspaper for Ely. The printed edition is usually delivered by Sat., usually available Fri. on some store racks, and posted online by Fri. In this case, 2 notices were posted on page 4, Section 2, next to official Nov. 21st City Council minutes. Tom Coombe wrote an article about short-term rentals on page 7, Section 1.

Catie Clark wrote about short term rentals on page 9 in Friday’s The Timberjay. TJ printed edition is delivered Fridays and usually posted online by Thurs.

When is the great reveal? How many seats will be open?

Look at our page Elections Now in Dec 2023? Will approximately 33 positions will be open after 1/31/2024 ?? Note: Not all these openings are filled via Council appointment. “Now” and “Dec 2023” were intentionally used, because there has been movement behind the scenes to find replacement(s) since November 2023. Scroll to bottom for update on Dec 19th.

Are those Commissioners who were appointed to serve 3 years (or less if they are replacing someone who left before their term expired) automatically “reappointed” to serve up to 9 years?

Refer to the newn(?) Public Notices webpage for the City of Ely or look at image above for posting as of Dec. 8th. The public notices page has a link to new (?) list of committees with regularly scheduled meeting times. There is no link to details about each committee, board or commission. There is no information about the number of openings (or appointments) by 1/31/2024. There is no link to an application on the new webpage. To find this new list on the website. Select “our City.” Then select “Public Notices.” Then select “Boards, Commissions & Committees Meeting Schedules.” Note: The Charter Commission was removed from the new listing but still on the old one.

The previous list of commission/boards/committees webpage had a list with more details but couldn’t be printed out on 1 page. In that sense, the new list is an improvement. However, the previous list gave the public the ability to click to see more details, such as who is on the each committee, their term, and maybe a brief description the group’s purpose. To get to this “old” list, go to and select Government. Then select Commissions, Committees, Boards. At the top, you can download or fill in an application. The space for Qualifications (often subjective) is still considerably longer than the space given for reasons YOU want to serve. You can type more reasons, but the gatekeeping message is clear. Also, it looks like City Hall inserted missing info since the posting of our page Elections Now in Dec 2023? this week. Thanks, progress!

3 or 33 Seats to be filled? Automatic 9 year terms? Process?

So many unanswered questions. Perhaps that’s why there is no public notice in The Ely Echo?

One can debate term limits, automatic re-appointments, etc. Yes, having good-quality active appointees is the most important, meaning appointees who represent the citizens of Ely, the citizens’ interests, needs, and wholistic vision of this precious natural area. Some should definitely stay. However, some citizens interested in serving should not have to wait 6+ years to be on a Commission. Especially since some (non)residents or some seasonal residents might be are occupying seats on more than one commission for up to 9 years (?)

We don’t need “experts” for many of these Commissioner positions. We don’t need or want Council to appoint lobbyists on our Ely Commissions to speak for us. You can invite a variety of recognized experts to speak. You can research online, check what other cities, counties, etc. have done. There are charts, documents, maps, and ordinances out there. You don’t have to pack the packets with thousands of pages. Citizens and citizen groups want(ed) to work with the Commissioners and City Hall. Be more welcoming! Allow them to serve on commissions, including the powerful commissions that the lobbyists want to be on.

We need appointees who ask good questions (and are encouraged to ask good questions in a non-paternalistic fashion .) Appointees need to understand the difference between short-term and long-term cause & effect.

What’s the best strategy to solve problems? Shuffle the same papers and say the same things for months on end? “It takes a long time.” Yes, but think smart; don’t keep re-inventing the wheel. Lots of talking and self-promotion is like cheap perfume. Splashing more on doesn’t mean it becomes quality perfume. Even too much quality perfume stinks! Trust your nose AND watch the recordings posted on

Ethics, codes of conduct, conflicts of interest – procedures

Council already heard testimony about what happens on powerful Commissions where individuals, businesses and even Council Members are verbally disparaged. No City person, no Chairs and no Commissioner should disparage or identify anyone during official City meetings as being pro-choice/anti-abortion or pro-mining/anti-sulfide-ore copper mining. Citizens for transparency are recording as many meetings as possible to stop this disparaging attitude. Those who disparage, why are they still serving? Why should their terms be automatically extended? Some serve on more than one commission. By the way, there are no guidelines for handling for behavior issues. “Just ignore” doesn’t work anymore, especially not when the cameras are running.

Before Council starts (re)appointing folks, they need to figure out what the unwritten policies and guidelines are. Maybe Council needs a closed meeting with the City Attorney and attorney from the League of Minnesota Cities.

And while City Hall and Council are setting up written policies and procedures, they should include serious discussions about ethics, standards of conduct/behavior, conflicts of interest, and open meeting laws. It seems, based on cleansed minutes and after-meeting discussions, the City of Ely wants to focus on open meeting laws.

When you cannot say or record minutes with the words ethics, standards of conduct/behavior, or conflicts of interest, there is indeed a serious problem.

Dec. 19th – Update on public notices

2 Public notices in Ely Echo, Saturday, Dec 16th:

Section 2, Page 3, for HRA – Applications are due Wed., Dec. 27th, 4:30 p.m. – during school break and holiday vacations/celebrations

Section 2, Page 2 (multiple) – Applications are due Fri., January 5th, 4:30 p.m.

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