East Grand Forks charter revisions would codify existing city practices

City Council members voted 6-0 at a special meeting Monday to approve a series of changes to the city’s charter, but residents there will need to affirm those changes in citywide elections this November to finalize them.

A town’s charter lays out the structure of its municipal government: who’s in charge of what, who reports to whom, when city leaders are elected and how long their terms are, plus a host of other civic fundamentals.

But the changes that voters will be asked to affirm would, more or less, catch the charter up to the way the city already is being run, making the changes on paper more than in practice.

Revisions approved by City Council members would mean the East Grand Forks police chief would report to the city administrator for day-to-day work, but would ultimately be responsible to the city’s mayor. As it’s written now, East Grand Forks’ charter puts direction of the police department solely at the mayor’s feet but, in practice, City Administrator David Murphy has been Police Chief Mike Hedlund’s direct supervisor because Murphy is more readily available than Mayor Steve Gander, who can delegate those responsibilities as he sees fit.

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