It’s Long Past Time to Make the Met Council Accountable to the Public

The following commentary by Matt Look, Randy Maluchnik, Nancy Schouweiler and Jon Ulrich was published in the October 1, 2016 edition of the StarTribune.

Matt Look is an Anoka County commissioner. Randy Maluchnik is a Carver County commissioner. Nancy Schouweiler is a Dakota County commissioner. Jon Ulrich is a Scott County commissioner.

It’s Long Past Time to Make the Met Council Accountable to the Public

‘I overruled him.” Overruled. That’s the term Gov. Mark Dayton used to describe how a recent, hastily-assembled Southwest Light Rail funding plan came together. The pronoun “him” referred to Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. This, despite earlier assurances from Duininck that such a plan was a “bad option” and he did not want to move SWLRT forward without legislative approval.

Why is this cause for concern?

Do the non-elected Metropolitan Council’s chair and members really have autonomy, or do they feel compelled to comply with the wishes of the person who appointed them — the governor? From the looks of it, they fell in line with the governor’s wishes and approved the Certificates of Participation to move SWLRT forward without the Legislature’s OK.

For us, leaders who along with our fellow County Board members represent more than 1 million people in Anoka, Carver, Dakota and Scott counties, the fact that Dayton has demonstrated that he can call the shots on important decisions being made by his appointees on the Metropolitan Council amplifies the need to reformulate this body to allow locally elected officials to serve as members.

To continue reading, click on the link to the Star Tribune
It’s long past time to make the Met Council accountable