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Met Council staggered terms

Published (3/23/2012)
By Nick Busse
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A desire for stability and continuity at the Metropolitan Council is at the heart of a plan to stagger the terms of its 17 members — but the council itself doesn’t approve.

The Met Council is a regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Its members are appointed by the governor. Local government officials say the ability to have all members replaced simultaneously makes the council less effective.

“It’s a very large learning curve to become a member of the Met Council,” said Anoka County Commissioner Carol LeDoux. “It’s just a good idea not to have a council turn over and have all new members at the same time.”

Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) sponsors HF2404 that would prevent that from happening. The House Government Operations and Elections Committee approved the bill March 16 and sent it to the House floor. Sen. Benjamin Kruse (R-Brooklyn Park) sponsors the companion, SF2014, which awaits action by the full Senate.

A January 2011 report on metropolitan transit governance from the Office of the Legislative Auditor recommended staggered terms for the Met Council. Scott noted that staggered terms were also proposed by the Legislative Commission on Metropolitan Government.

Judd Schetnan, the council’s government affairs director, said the council opposes the change on the basis that its members serve at the pleasure of the governor and should continue to do so. He dismissed the legislative auditor’s recommendation, noting that the audit only looked at transit issues and not the council’s other functions like urban planning and parks.

Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) praised the bill and said it represented a first step to reforming the council.

“This is not going to be the end-all and be-all of what needs to happen with Met Council governance,” he said.

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