By Dave Fidlin


What constitutes good governance? What are the characteristics of a well-run committee or board in Whitewater?

These are some of the questions council member Chris Grady aired with his elected colleagues during a recent discussion of the broad topics at a Common Council meeting Nov. 7.

In recent months, Grady, who serves as the council representative on the city’s Landmarks Commission, has expressed concern with the latitude some of the municipality’s appointed bodies have.

Whitewater has long had an assortment of committees and boards that take up narrow issues and bring them forward to the full council with a recommendation. The elected council, in turn, has the authority to make final, decisive votes on the issues.

The council designates appointees to the various committees and boards, and a member of the council traditionally has held a seat on the body.

In a recent discussion of the issue, Grady proposed the possibility of creating a list of rules for each of the city’s committees and boards. He described them as “good governance” provisions.

Grady presented his elected colleagues with a list of criteria he considered good governance, including a clearly established start time that is amenable to all members of the committee or board.

“The entire group needs to agree on a time that works for the entire group,” Grady said.

Other items on the list include how and when special meetings can be called, how oversight responsibilities are delegated and narrowing an individual board or committee’s membership to one family member.

Several council members were at least interested in exploring the issue further.

Council member Stephanie Goettl, however, questioned the motivation behind Grady’s proposal.

“I think we are attempting to legislate what is an issue of personality conflict,” Goettl said.



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