Oak Grove City Council Council members at their Jan. 28 meeting will welcome a minimum of seven residents to speak from the podium, each of whom hopes to serve on a joint community watershed management board.
Actually, the elected council will welcome up to six non-elected candidates for that board with the seventh applicant coming from the council.
On a request from Councilmember Dan Denno at a meeting Nov. 26, 2012, other council members agreed to open an application process for two seats that the city is allotted for directing work of the Upper Rum River Watershed Management Organization, which exists to preserve quality of local water sources.
Including representatives from Nowthen, St. Francis, Ham Lake, Bethel and East Bethel, the board has a scheduled meeting once every other month at the Sandhill Center in Bethel. It met most recently Jan. 9, with the next session planned March 5. Each board member can receive a fee of $60 per meeting for attendance.
Denno asked Oak Grove staff Nov. 26 when terms would end for the city’s WMO representatives.
According to City Administrator Rick Juba, the appointments could be made or reconsidered by the council at any time.
Oak Grove’s incumbent WMO members, Ed Faherty and John Wagensteen, have combined to serve nine years on the board and both have reapplied for further consideration. They are being challenged for the advisory roles by Stuart Bernard, Bernadatte Lex, Brad Schroeder and Corey Van Denburgh, along with Denno.
Denno and all other applicants will receive up to two minutes each at the podium Jan. 28 to explain their interest in the board positions.
The council directed staff Jan. 14 to prepare a document for that meeting that will allow them to appoint two WMO board members and one alternate from among the list of applicants. Only two people could serve and receive a stipend per WMO meeting.
Councilmember Sean Sullivan was not part of November’s vote to open applications as he defeated incumbent Kevin Robinson on election day. Robinson served with the council through December and was succeeded by Sullivan beginning Jan. 14.
Sullivan said during his first meeting that his experience includes 10 years as a soil and water supervisor for the Anoka Conservation District and with that background, he suggested that each applicant be asked to share their own related experience in their two minutes.
“It’s not a task where someone can just jump in and start running right away,” Sullivan said. “There is a big learning curve.”