At Monday’s City Council meeting, a strange item, 9b, was on the agenda:

09B – Int Ord 115 – Enforcement of Rules of Order for Govt Meetings – CC 11

Here is the link to the video, two options:

CLICK HERE and scroll down to 9b and click for video

MP4 Video

How did this get on the agenda?  It didn’t go through committee…

Look at this discussion of the matter in minutes from previous meeting, September 25, 2017:

First, “City Attorney Amy Mace referenced a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the disorderly conduct statute.”  That would be the Hensel decision:


So let’s look at this order of events.  The City’s Rules of Order address disruption of a city meeting, long standing rules.  The Hensel decision comes down September 13, 2017.  The meeting minutes above are September 25, 2017.

Listen to that part of the 9/25 meeting HERE – MP4 (begins at ~ 58:56, goes to ~1:03.00).  Note the City Attorney’s focus on “anger” — behavior that would cause anger, and statements that the public/private aspect of the statute was problematic. That was not part of the rational that Minn. Stat. 609.72, Subd. 2 that was deemed unconstitutional:

(2) disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or

Again, the decision:


So between the time the Hensel decision is published and the Council meeting of the 25th, 13 days, the Red Wing Chief of Police goes to the Goodhue County Attorney about it, and that “[t]he County Attorney feels that, as long as these rules are in place, there would be a basis for someone to be removed from a council meeting if they do not stop their disruptive behavior when given an order by the Council President to do so.”  That means that someone discussed this with the City Attorney prior to the 9/25 meeting.  This discussion is begun by “Council President Kim Biese, who asked whether additional discussion is needed with regard to managing a disturbance during a public meeting. So there was some discussion between some parties prior to the meeting.   The City Attorney goes on to say, “the City Attorney’s Office is considering whether language should be added to the City Code to make this type of behavior a misdemeanor offense.”  On whose authority, initiative, direction is this “considering” occurring?   Biese knew of this, City Attorney knew of this, and Chief Pohlman went to the County Attorney about it before the ink was dry on the Hensel decision — and he was told, “no problem.” So why is this happening and on whose direction?   “Discussion” and “consideration” is ongoing despite advice that there is no problem, the City’s rules are sufficient per the County Attorney.

What’s Biese and Chief Pohlman’s concern? Why is City Attorney working on this, and why are we paying for it?

Makes no sense… and this is contrary to the recommendations of the Red Wing Citizens Assembly:

Red Wing Citizens Assembly Event Report

From the report:

And “Better  Public Meetings” was a key component:

Looking forward:

Not only is Ordinance #115 action for a problem that doesn’t exist, it is a step in the wrong direction, away from “Better Public Meetings” and instead hanging a threat over the heads of lawfully participating citizens.

Ordinance #115?  NO!

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