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Wendy Reuer, Published May 30 2013

Moorhead City Council members pass plan in case they’re all killed at same time

MOORHEAD – The City Council here now has a plan in place just in case the elected officials should all meet their demise at the same time.

The council passed a resolution Monday that calls on the Clay County Commission to appoint eight new City Council members if the council is killed en masse in a disaster or attack.

The newly appointed council would then appoint a mayor.

If the Clay County Commission was unable to appoint officials, the governor would step in to do it.

City Manager Michael Redlinger must designate an interim emergency city manager before the end of June. The interim emergency manager would take over until the council hired a new manager if Redlinger suddenly died or became incapacitated.

The council passed the resolution Monday in a 5-3 vote.

Council members Luther Stueland, Brenda Elmer and Steve Gehrtz voted against the resolution.

Council members Nancy Otto, Mark Hintermeyer, Heidi Durand, Mark Altenburg and Mike Hulett approved.

The policy was originally proposed in February as a city charter amendment. It failed in a 5-4 vote.

At that time, Stueland, Durand, Altenburg, and Hulett were for the amendment. Mayor Mark Voxland cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the amendment. At the time, the mayor said it would be good to have a plan in place “in this gun-wielding world of ours.”

The amendment still failed because to amend the city’s charter, the council must have two official readings and approve both unanimously 9-0. The charter is the city’s founding documents, similar to the constitution of a nation or a state.

Redlinger said Monday’s resolution came at the request of the city charter commission, which considers potential changes to the charter.

The policy also allows the mayor to suspend quorum requirements if the city were to be attacked or there is a disaster and only a few council members could gather.

The council would also be allowed to meet outside of City Hall, in another town or state if City Hall were to be attacked or destroyed.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530