Unlike many Minnesota cities, voters in Bemidji don’t have the ability to recall their elected city officials. But Bemidji’s charter commission wants to change that.
The commission will consider today whether the issue should be decided by voters in a future election, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.
The Bemidji City Council had the chance to resolve the question for themselves by voting in favor of adding recall powers to the city charter. But instead they voted 5-1 against it.
“They don’t want to give the people this power? I don’t understand it. I really don’t,” charter commission member Michael Meuers told the newspaper.
Several council members questioned the fairness of the numbers required to prompt a recall. The proposal would allow five voters in a ward to begin the recall process against that ward’s councilor. They’d be required to gather signatures from 20 percent of those who voted for the councilor in the last election.
If they reach that threshold, it would trigger a special recall election.
Bemidji city attorney Al Felix told the Pioneer the language in the proposed charter change isn’t that unusual.
“It’s pretty common fare,” he said. “We would probably be one of the few [cities] that doesn’t have it.”