Revolving mayor seat must change

Published 1:13 pm Saturday, April 23, 2011

It’s about time for the city of Albert Lea to join the ranks of most other cities in Minnesota of over 10,000 population and begin to elect our mayors to serve four-year terms as they do. State law requires that mayors of statutory cities must serve for four-year terms. There is a good reason for this. The job of mayor has become much more than that of ribbon cutter and goodwill ambassador.

Today’s mayors must not only set the agenda and lead their fellow councilors, but they must also lobby the Legislature, chart the future direction of their cities and oversee a very complex budgeting process. Many important projects began over the past few years in Albert Lea have taken several years from inception to completion. Continuity of leadership can be critical to our future success.

Albert Lea is a charter city, and we have had two-year terms for our mayors for many years. While we hold on to this antiquated system, our neighboring cities such as Rochester, Mankato, Austin and most other charter cities have gone to four-year terms. We need continuity in this office and having eight mayors over the past 10 years has not served us well. With nearly half of the council members standing for election every two years, we have ample opportunity to change half of the seats on the council at every election.

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Our charter commission meets early next month. If you agree that this revolving-door policy must be changed, be certain to attend the meeting on May 2 at 5:15 p.m. in the council chambers and let them know that this is the time to make this necessary change.

Anthony Trow

Albert Lea