Possible reform of Bloomington boards, commissions gets study by city council committee

Clockwise around the table from right: City councilmembers Matt Flaherty and Isabel Piedmont-Smith; city of Bloomington public engagement director Kaisa Goodman; city council deputy attorney Ash Kulak; and city councilmember Sue Sgambelluri. On screen in the upper left of the frame is Bloomington city clerk Nicole Bolden. he meeting took place in the city council’s “library” room. (May 25, 2023)

On Thursday night, a special city council committee met to move ahead with a closer look at reforming various processes related to Bloomington’s boards and commissions.

Also up for consideration by the four-member committee are possible recommendations on merging some of the city’s roughly 50 boards and commissions.

The committee is hoping to wrap up its work on board and commission reform by the end of the year.

The committee was appointed by council president Sue Sgambelluri at the council’s first meeting of the year. It was the same meeting when she was elected by her colleagues as this year’s council president.

In addition to Matt Flaherty as chair of the committee, Sgambelluri appointed as members the three officers of the council—including herself (president), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (vice president) and Dave Rollo (parliamentarian). Rollo did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Continue reading “Possible reform of Bloomington boards, commissions gets study by city council committee”

Opinion: It would be great if Bloomington’s government followed its own laws

This coming week offers a great chance to learn how Bloomington’s city government works. From Monday through Thursday, the city council will hold hearings on the mayor’s proposed budget for 2021.

cropped what I did on my summer vacation
Image links to Bloomington’s body of local law in Municode.

Every department begins its presentation by addressing the question: Why do we even exist?

Everyone in the city of Bloomington should try to tune in for at least part of this weeklong civic event.

Parents could use it as a reward for finishing homework on time: If you finish these math problems, I will let you watch the budget hearings.

Some Bloomington citizens might wonder about the start time for the budget hearings. Each night’s hearing starts a half hour earlier than for a regular city council meeting—6 p.m. instead of the usual 6:30 p.m.

That’s possible, because budget hearings aren’t “regular meetings” of the city council, which are prescribed to start at 6:30 p.m. under Bloomington law. The regular meeting start time was changed from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. by enactment of an ordinance in late 2016.

Other Bloomington citizens might not wonder so much about the clock time as about the time of year for the budget hearings. Why the third week in August? Why not earlier, say in the third week of July? Continue reading “Opinion: It would be great if Bloomington’s government followed its own laws”