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Minot discussing new council procedures, ombudsman

MINOT, N.D. - The Minot City Council would add a second monthly meeting to its schedule under a proposal advanced by council members Tuesday, Nov. 27.

The proposal would provide for council meetings the first and third Mondays of each month.

In setting up a new form of government with a smaller council in 2017, the city retained the two committee meetings held during the week before the monthly council meeting. In adding an extra council meeting each month, the city would eliminate those committee meetings.

If approved, it could become effective in January.

The council, meeting in committee session, also discussed designating one of its members as an ombudsman. With the elimination of the ward system in the government restructuring, council members serve at large, leaving the public less certain about whom to approach with questions or concerns. Council members also reported confusion about who should respond when all receive the same emails, and they cited a concern about how the open meetings law might apply if they respond. An ombudsman would ease the confusion by serving as an initial point of contact for the public.

Council members directed the city manager to prepare a plan for implementing an ombudsman program.