Moorhead denies term for Norman
The Moorhead Public Service Commission will bid farewell to one of its longest-serving members. In a 5-4 decision, the Moorhead City Council denied attorney Ken Norman another term on the commission. Mayor Mark Voxland broke a deadlocked council ...
The Moorhead Public Service Commission will bid farewell to one of its longest-serving members.
In a 5-4 decision, the Moorhead City Council denied attorney Ken Norman another term on the commission.
Mayor Mark Voxland broke a deadlocked council by voting no on reappointing Norman.
The move ends a controversial debate on Norman's term limits and, more broadly, term limits for members of the public serving on city advisory boards.
First Ward Councilwoman Nancy Otto asked for Norman's reappointment, despite a council-backed resolution that states public service commissioners shouldn't serve more than four three-year terms.
Norman, whose sixth term ends Jan. 31, started on the commission in 1988.
Otto said Norman's legal expertise and knowledge of the complicated subject matter that accompanies public utility discussion makes him the right candidate to continue work on the board.
Otto's plea to have Norman reappointed was ignored.
Several council members said Norman's reappointment contradicts the city's term-limit resolution and conflicts with the city's goal to promote diversity on boards and commissions.
Councilwoman Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks said 1st Ward council members need to find new blood.
"There's no reason to believe only one person can do that job," she said.
The Public Service Commission oversees Moorhead's $25 million utility budget and sets consumers' water and electric rates.
Norman will continue serving until a replacement is found.
Voxland is also searching to replace Commissioner Brenda Elmer, who resigned because of a conflict of interest with her work in Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's office.
Norman has said throughout the council's appointment process process he's willing to do whatever the council chooses.
He said he hasn't campaigned for the position, but does it because he's been asked to and enjoys the work.
"If they want me to be there, I'll be there," Norman said in a recent interview.
"I don't do it for any other reason other than to serve."
Councilwoman Diane Wray Williams complimented Norman's resolve as controversy surrounding the council's policies and politics swirled around him.
She noted the issue hasn't been about him or his performance, but of incorporating new citizen input on community boards.
She implored Moorhead residents to take an interest in serving on city advisory committees and the Public Service Commission.
"Citizens, this should be a debate that should perk your ears up. It takes all of us to run this town," Wray Williams said.
"This debate is about honoring process, honoring majority rule and all of us being involved in the community."
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Melinda Rogers at (701) 241-5524