Words and the context in which they are used matter. I am not surprised that in this city election the words in the Rochester City Charter are ignored. SECTION 3.04 states that “The elective officers of said city shall be a mayor and councilmember-at-large.” It does not state “council president”. “Council president” is mentioned in SECTION 5.01, Subd.1. “The councilmember-at-large shall be the president of the common council”.
If the City Charter deems the importance of the “councilmember-at-large” to be one of the two elected officers in the city, why is that importance missed by candidate advertising and newspaper articles.
I think the importance of electing someone to represent the entire City of Rochester is far more important than the person presiding at council meetings. In Subd. 2 of SECTION 5.01 the words “The president, or in the president’s absence, the president pro tem shall preside at the meetings of the common council.” seem to indicate that a presence for the rule of order is the role of the president.
The words that are missing in the City Charter are the duties of the councilmember-at-large and/or the council president. Perhaps running for power wins over running to represent all the people.
Michael Pagelkopf, Rochester