“Request from City Council Member to Engage City Attorney to Prepare Draft Amendments to the City Code” is what the agenda of the Muscatine City Council had listed as section 11-R.

Council member Tom Spread explained that this represents a proposal to direct the city’s attorney to draft possible changes to the city code. Spread read proposed changes, which would change the way that appointments are made to commissions, along with changing the authority for appointment and removal of the Fire Chief and Chief of Police to the City Administrator, which would be subject to city council approval.

At Thursday evening’s meeting, the appointment of Kent Ferris to the Civil Service Commission was included on the agenda, but was unable to be voted on, due to not receiving a motion or a second by council members.

In speaking with the Voice of Muscatine following the meeting, Spread explained, “It changes the way we fill appointments. This is really a conversation I started in January. Just reflecting on my first term, what can we do better?  I felt like when we make appointments, I would like to have better and more information, a more collaborative approach.”

With no action being taken to appoint Ferris, the position remains open until a different candidate is presented for council approval. “That position will remain open. It is terribly inefficient. This gives us a new process so we can fill those appointments in a timely manner with qualified people,” Spread says.

The proposal was carried by a unanimous vote after no discussion from council members.  At the time of the vote, Mayor Broderson said, “I will veto this.”

The Mayor was corrected by council member Phil Fitzgerald, who said that a veto was not within the mayoral power, going on to say, “You might have a hard time doing that with a 7-0 majority.”

According to Spread, the motion will be sent to the city’s attorney to be drafted. Once drafted, the changes to the city code will be discussed in depth at the council meeting on May 12.