An informal orientation helped new Marion council members get their bearings on their new job April 23.
After being buried under a mountain of paperwork and city code, new council members Melissa Mermis and Chad Adkins asked questions of administrator Roger Holter and shared their thoughts of how the council would work moving forward.
The three attending council members, Mermis, Adkins, and Jerry Dieter, and mayor Todd Heitschmidt agreed that cooperation was the best possible way to move the city forward.
“We’re going to have different opinions, and that’s not a problem, but we’re going to have to work together to get things accomplished,” Heitschmidt said.
New council members said they would rely on those with experience to guide them during the learning process. Dieter, Heitschmidt, and Adkins also said they would like to see the council work closer with city boards.
“We need more input from boards,” Dieter said. “They’re out there doing things, and that way if a big issue comes up we know what to do.”
Dieter said the lack of communication in the past has caused experienced people to leave their board positions.
“Roger has been helping focusing the planning committee, but before it was a disaster,” Dieter said. “Now it’s going good, but we all need to work together to set the path we want the city to go into in the future.”
Heitschmidt said he plans to attend all board meetings over the next month, and work out a rotation schedule for each board to attend meetings to give the council regular updates.
Adkins would like to see the council members and boards work together to create a comprehensive plan for the city.
“That way everyone is working together toward the same goals,” he said. “I think it’s vital that we have a plan going forward of where we want to go, be, and how we want to get there, and the biggest thing we need is input.”
One of the biggest reasons Adkins had for running, he said, was because the city seemed to be constantly putting out fires.
“That’s not fair to the community,” he said. “Things shouldn’t take three or four council meetings to get in line.”
Heitschmidt agreed and said he would like to create a vision then redo zoning regulations and other city ordinances to support that mission.
Mermis said she plans to utilize residents’ opinions to make her decisions.
“I look at my role to be the one to think outside of the box,” she said. “I want to try and think like the residents and ask questions they want to ask.”
Holter also touched on ethics, open meetings laws, and the budget. He plans to hold future work sessions to better bring new members up to speed.