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Metro Cities wants more local input in Met Council selection

A report from a Metro Cities task force likes the idea of regional government in the Twin Cities but calls for more local government involvement in the work of the Metropolitan Council.

A report from a Metro Cities task force likes the idea of regional government in the Twin Cities but calls for more local government involvement in the work of the Metropolitan Council.

Metro Cities is an organization that represents, well, metro cities at the Met Council and Legislature.

Said Task Force Chair Ady Wickstrom, from the Shoreview City Council:

“Metro Cities recognizes the importance of effective regional governance. Cities and residents in our metro area benefit from a Met Council that does a good job managing wastewater, transit and regional parks. At the same, the report recognizes the primary roles cities play in the provision of services, planning and economic development throughout the region, and the importance of collaborative relationships between our local and regional governments.”

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The task force findings include a call for “strengthening local official involvement and input into the selection process for Metropolitan Council members through specific statutory changes to the nomination process through which local officials would make up the majority of nominating committee members, and which would require the Governor’s adherence to the nominating committee’s recommendations barring extraordinary circumstances.”

It also supports legislative oversight of the Met Council.

The report says the group opposes any changes to the Met Council governance model that would give elected county officials a majority of local spots on the council. Said the report:

The impacts of policy decision making by the Metropolitan Council fall most significantly onto city governments. Representation of county officials on the Metropolitan Council must only be considered under the premise that any county representation on the Metropolitan Council be commensurate with the involvement of counties in the statutory authority and policy making activities of the Metropolitan Council. Task Force discussions identified several issues around potential conflicts of office and concluded these issues are potentially significant and must be resolved before this type of governance model is considered for the Metropolitan Council.

And the group said it’s important to realize that the metropolitan region extends beyond the traditional seven-county area, particularly on issues of transportation, environment and land use.