Special committees would help city council

As some may recall I recently penned a Letter to the Editor encouraging our incoming mayor and the city council to consider reinstating the council committee mode of operation that served this community so well in years past.

At the Jan. 27 council meeting I appeared again to ask our elected body to consider becoming more involved in the daily operation of our city government by having Mayor Jim Lowrance apply this proven tool as a part of reducing, or at best, eliminating meeting surprises and, most importantly, giving each council member additional responsibility so as to become more involved with key government department operations.

It was suggested by a member of the current council that evening that with only seven members comprising this body today it would be difficult to find the time to serve as had previously been done with the larger sized council of the past.

Let’s try thinking outside of the box for just a moment. What if they were to have just 2 members of the council serving on the various committees with the addition of a member of our community making up the necessary three person committee.

Doing this would only require each elected council person the duty of serving on a total of just two committees and by adding one legal resident of Marshalltown to serve it would provide a great way to open up communication within the council members and also give another opportunity for citizens to provide direct input or bring problems to this smaller group for eventual resolution, if necessary, by the city council.

In years past our city made great strides in many areas of progress by appointing citizens to various special committees to research and make recommendations before the council’s binding vote. Citizen inputs and contributions can, I firmly believe, do no harm but become a win-win solution in making our local government even more responsive. What harm could this approach do?