In an effort to facilitate communication, city council members now will have specific areas to focus on.
City administrator Roger Holter suggested the initiative because citizens who want to talk to a city council member about an issue don’t know which council member to talk to.
Mayor Todd Heitschmidt will specialize in finance, law, and general administration; Jerry Dieter will specialize in public safety; Jerry Kline will specialize in public works and utilities; Chad Adkins will specialize in economic development and land use; and Melissa Mermis will specialize in parks and recreation.
The concept was discussed at the council’s previous meeting, but with Kline absent, specific assignment was postponed. At that meeting, Mermis was tabbed for public safety communications because her husband is the city police chief; she reconsidered and decided to take on parks and recreation instead.
Kline was confused what specifically the assignment meant.
“What’s the work order here?” he asked. “Are you supposed to just listen? Micromanage?”
Heitschmidt said it could function similarly to past administrations, which had commission style forms of government. Holter said the idea was that the titles be treated more as informal associations. Members also will correspond with city department heads in their areas.