All city council members serve on a number of boards and commissions as official representatives of the city of Rochester. Now that I am in my 5th year and an old timer on the council, I have been able to move onto some of the committees that are the most interesting to me. These committee assignments are made by the entire city council, not actually the council president. It has been our tradition to allow the council president to prepare the list of recommendations. Here is where I am serving this year.
Rochester Public Utilities – Since I have Masters Degrees in electrical engineering, business, and an interest in power this was my first choice. This will be my first full year and second overall on the RPU board. This board oversees the entire power and water operation for the city of Rochester. My focus will continue to be on financial, social, and environmental sustainability. I want to work of pricing that rewards good decisions. I want to see a plan to bury utilities in older or redeveloping neighborhoods. I want to see a transition to cleaner and more local resources. I want to see up protect our water aquifers.
Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments (ROCOG) – While you may not have heard of this organization, it is an important one. While this group works on a number of issues it is mostly focused on transportation and land use issues. This is the group that we need to lead the way in slowing the sprawl and building livable communities. The group is committed to sustainability. I want to see better cooperation on transit. I want to work to see Olmsted County join other large counties, Rochester, and the state of Minnesota in adopting a Complete Streets Policy.
Rochester Energy Commission – This newer group that Ed Hruska and I helped create is in the process of gathering data, creating a baseline, and making recommendations to help Rochester save money and combat climate change.
Personal Advisory Committee (PAC) – This seldom used committee provides input to HR and addresses HR issues that must go beyond internal business units. This may become more important as we implement changes related to Obamacare. While the policy will provide coverage to tens of millions more Americans, specific details may require Rochester to be nimble. In my role as a council member I have a dual constituency. I represent the city of Rochester which deserves good government, but I also respect and serve the incredibly talented staff that we have in the city. I strive to be fair to both parties.
Planning Advisory Services Committee (PASC) – I think that is what it stands for… Because we have a planning agency that is shared between Rochester and Olmsted County, this is the group that oversees that agency. I don’t ever remember this group having a meeting. I requested to be on in for 2013 (probably the first request ever). We will meet to discuss the skills and processes that we need to prepare us for the future. I will continue my push for architectural review, form based zoning codes, and the imagine process.
Committee on Urban Design and the Environment (CUDE) – There is no official city council member on this body, however I have adopted them as my own. I support the work they to as the voice of people who demand high quality aesthetically pleasing public places. I have used the volunteers to provide input in complex neighborhood projects with great success. On think we need to do is get the 16 membership number under control, better include them in public processes, and find a way to consolidate municipal award programs.
I am also a director for Envision MN, which is outside, but related to my council duties. I serve on a number of other local, regional, and national boards. That is all.