Superior Council puts brakes on committee creation

Councilors delay vote to get more information before creating another committee

The Government Center in Superior. (Jed Carlson /
The Government Center in Superior. (Jed Carlson /

The Superior City Council put the brakes on a proposal to create its seventh standing committee Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Mayor Jim Paine proposed changing the city’s charter to add an administration committee to address issues that don’t neatly fit into the missions of the finance, human resources, public works, public safety, or license and fees committees and don’t rise to the level of the council’s committee of the whole.

The council postponed a decision on the change to get more information about the purpose of the committee.

“It’s just not clear to me,” Councilor Jack Sweeney said. “It seems to me that we shouldn’t be adding a committee. We should be streamlining the ones we have and making them more efficient and effective.”

Councilors are appointed to 19 of more than 40 boards, committees and commissions that address a variety of issues in the city. Most are filled by community members, elected officials or city staff, and only standing committees have the authority to refer matters directly to the council.


Only city councilors serve on standing committees. They are appointed by the council president, confirmed by the council and are the only committees that have the authority to refer issues directly to the council.

Sweeney said he had a lot of questions about the proposal and would like to see a paper that outlined the role of the administration committee.

“What is the actual purpose of this?” Sweeney asked.

“Well, without sounding ironic, it’s to streamline the committees to make them more efficient and effective,” said Mayor Jim Paine, who introduced the proposal. “Some of the committees are overworked and have a considerable amount of business come before them. And others are forced to take on work that may not seem relevant to an ordinary person on that committee.”

Paine said the administration committee would take up issues that have a broader impact on city operations, such as implementing recommendations in the RW Management Group study of city operations. While the human resources committee would still be responsible for creating positions, he said there are broader issues in that report that span multiple departments.

Currently, the human resources committee is considering changes to streamline the city’s payroll system, which requires expertise from information technology and finance and will ultimately affect all city departments.

Paine said it's an issue that would have to go through three committees and would ideally be considered by the administration committee.

“I think this would be good, but if Councilor Sweeney wants to delay this to get more information, as much as I like this, I’m in no hurry to see this happen,” Councilor Brent Fennessey said.


The council referred the matter to its Oct. 6 meeting.

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