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Elections Now in Dec 2023?

City Council will be (re?)appointing Commissioners whose current terms expire January 31, 2024. Council will vote on December 5th to announce openings and publish in Ely’s official newspaper, the Ely Echo. Which positions are “open”? We’re not sure. What are the “term limits”?

What “qualifications” are really essential?

Look at the tiny space allowed for “reasons wanting to serve” vs. lots of space for “list of qualifications” that citizens complete on the application form. City Hall and Council are sending a clear message here: “We don’t want idealists or change makers.” Whatever you do with your application, do NOT indicate you want the City to adopt codes of ethics, etc.!!!!

Anne Wilson Schaef explains weeding out minorities, women, newcomers etc. from open positions. The game starts with the original announcements, follows up with the interview process, and ends with official-solid-sounding reasons for decisions. Women and minorities tend to self-eliminate themselves at the beginning when they read “qualifications” or “prerequisites.” They think they need to know everything, have the vocabulary, be able to do everything, etc. BEFORE they apply. In other words, they need to be an “expert” on the first day. So they tend not to apply. The organization also expects the same of women and minorities. If they do apply, well, they are not qualified per prerequisites. Good reason, can’t be challenged, everyone follows along.

Schaef then explains how it works for white men. White men tend to apply for jobs they do not “qualify for.” They expect to be trained. They are or can be “experts” in everything. Listen to them talk. Organizations accept their applications, interview them, and hire them expecting the white men to learn on the job. This is how subtle discrimination works in non-transparent organizations who want to limit hiring or appointments to those who look, think and act like the group in power. Many if not most organizations and governments don’t really want to change. Friends hire friends and people they know. Why do real outreach? The City of Ely is not an exception.

Which Commissioners have served for as long as they can? Will Commissioners be automatically reappointed, including non-residents? What are the advantages for having non-residents appointed? Good questions. Maybe Council Members will ask them . . . if you ask them to?

Scroll down for list of possible “openings.

City Hall already started actively seeking replacements for openings. Someone they want. Evidence? Watch our recording of a P&Z meeting back in November 15th. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZLWQTG4xA4

Why is that Part C video disturbing? Planning & Zoning periodically meets as The Board of Adjustments (BOA). What BOA decides cannot be appealed by citizens. But developers seeking permits can appeal denials. Not fair. P&Z is extremely powerful. City Hall, lobbyists, developers and others want P&Z Commissioners to be on their side. They will push for non-residents to be appointed on Commissions if they cannot find residents, even appoint the same person to several Commissions. Recruitment starts early before posting. There is no simple transparent vetting process or policy before Council votes. Who are you serving?

This is why citizens want the City of Ely to adopt codes of ethics, standards of conduct, conflicts of interest, opening meeting laws, and other transparent procedures. The City doesn’t want to. Please push for them, whether you write letters to the newspapers, contact all the Council members, or speak at Council and Commission meetings.

City Hall is a Gatekeeper for Commissioner appointments. Aside from City Hall getting a head start on recruitment, potential applicants are (in)directly screened in or out when they seek more information about the Commissions. “Job descriptions” and “requirements” are not posted online. Heads up: You do NOT really need to be an “expert” to be on P&Z or other Commissions. You need to think systemically and wholistically, process information, demand information be presented in an organized fashion, ask (or research on your own) what other cities do, communicate with others in the community, etc. Ordinances need to be easily understood by the public, not written for “experts” to translate. Commissioners are to represent the needs and interests of Ely residents. City Hall wants a garden of culitvars. Citizens need native perennials.

Since maybe 1/2 of Ely refuses to subscribe or read the Echo, and maybe 1/2 of Ely refuses to subscribe or read The Timberjay, as a act of sincere outreach to all citizens, Council should publish announcements in both newspapers. When Council posts only in one paper, they are intentionally limiting recruitment.

Possible list of Commissioner “openings”

Here’s the current list of Ely’s Commissions, Boards and Committees: https://www.ely.mn.us/boards

For specifics, click on the link. Notice that “job descriptions” and purpose/mission of many Commissions are vague or missing. How do these Commissions serve and represent the diverse community of Ely? Which commissions serve residents beyond Ely’s city limits? Do those non-residents have the opportunity to serve on a similar or the same “Commission” ? You can also check to see who serves on multiple commissions, including multi-talented “experts.”

4 “openings” on Airport Commission

3 “Openings” on Cemetery Commission

? “Openings” on Charter Commission??? Semi-blank page with names, including previous Mayor

4? “Openings” on Gardner Trust Board – Not all expiration dates are posted

0? “Openings” on Ely Economic Development Authority (EEDA) – all elected Council Members serve

0? “Openings” on Employee Relations Committee – No explanations, just names posted

1 “Opening” on Heritage Preservation Commission

1 “Openings” on Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) – 1 person listed has expired term of 12/31/23

0? “Openings” on Insurance Committee -No explanations, just names posted

3 “Openings” on Library Board

0? “Openings” on Liquor/Tobacco Committee – No explanations, just names posted

3 “Openings” on Park & Recreation Commission

3 “Openings” on Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z)

2 “Openings” on Police Commission – upcoming and new not posted yet

3 “Openings” on Projects Commission – all 3 at large Ely residents

2? “Openings” on Sanitation Committee – no terms posted for 2 citizens at large

0 Openings on Telecommunications Advisory Board (TAB) – only 3 residents

2 “Openings” on Tree Board

2 “Openings” on Utilities Commission