Madison's city commissioners and mayor had a disagreement on Monday about the oversight duties for two new city commissioners who were sworn in midway through the commission meeting.
The Madison City Commission dealt with two ongoing issues -- repairs to the city's outdoor swimming pool and the wellness center's operating budget -- before swearing-in new members Jeremiah Corbin and Kelly Dybdahl.
After they were sworn in, the first piece of business that the mayor and commissioners considered was a resolution assigning oversight duties to Madison's elected officials.
The original resolution, titled No. 2021-11, that was submitted in Monday's agenda packet listed Mayor Marshall Dennert as the chief executive officer of the community with responsibilities to supervise persons and groups including the city attorney, city engineer, Board of Health, Madison Community Foundation and First District Association. The original resolution also listed Dennert as an ex-officio member of the Water Advisory Committee.
Also in the original resolution, Jerae Wire was assigned duties as the utilities commissioner, and Adam Shaw was assigned oversight to Madison's finances and revenue.
For the newly sworn-in city commissioners, Dybdahl was assigned duties as the commissioner of public works with duties overseeing the streets, alleys, public property and city improvements. Corbin was given duties as public safety commissioner to oversee the police and fire departments and to serve as liaison to the 911 Board and Local Emergency Planning Committee.
Dennert supported the original resolution, but the commissioners were reluctant to second the motion for a vote on approval or disapproval. David Jencks, city attorney, told the commissioners that if the motion died for lack of a second, then an oversight resolution would need to wait for a future commission meeting. In the meantime, Madison's departments and personnel would not have official oversight.
Jencks also pointed out that if the original resolution did not garner an approval vote from commissioners, then the commissioners could amend the resolution.
The original oversight duties resolution was placed to a vote and did not pass. Corbin, Dybdahl, Shaw and Wire voted no, and Dennert noted yes.
After the original resolution failed to pass, Corbin proposed that he should oversee the city's public works personnel and commissioners assign oversight of Madison's public safety departments to Dybdahl. In response, Dennert said that an issue could exist with Dybdahl serving as a volunteer firefighter and also having an oversight role with the Madison Fire Department.
Jencks told the mayor and commissioners that state law prohibited elected officials from benefiting directly from issues that they would vote for approval. Jencks said that those direct-benefit votes were typically rare among the issues that city commissioners would vote on. According to Jencks, if a conflict of interest did appear for a particular commissioner, he or she could abstain from voting on an action that could come before the city commission.
Corbin provided an amended resolution that assigned him duties as public works commissioner overseeing the streets, alleys, solid-waste disposal, recycling and parks management. Corbin would also represent the city on the park and recreation board, The Community Center Board and city planning commission.
Also in Corbin's amendment, Dybdahl would supervise the police and fire departments and animal-control efforts. Dybdahl would also serve as liaison with the 911 Board, LEPC, Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce and the library board.
Wire and Shaw would retain their oversight duties over municipal utilities and city finance and revenue, respectively. Dennert would maintain his mayoral duties.
The resolution with Corbin's amendment passed with a 4-1 vote and Dennert providing the `no' vote.