Council discusses upcoming city projects, part-time police officers

By Denise Lana,

The Decorah City Council covered numerous topics at their Monday, Feb. 5, regular scheduled meeting including public hearings on upcoming projects, amendments to the council handbook and discussing the hiring of part-time police officers.

Floodplain maps

The second reading occurred regarding an ordinance amending the Decorah Floodplain Maps. Changes made to Decorah’s flood map included interior ponding areas. The approval of the newly-adopted FEMA maps saw a deadline of Feb. 22 for city residents to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Council approved the second reading, and unanimously waived the third reading and adopted the ordinance, ensuring sufficient time to comply with FEMA and the deadline. 

Police officers

Council and city staff discussed an addendum to Decorah’s Union Contract which would allow the Decorah Police Department to hire part-time police officers. Under the addendum, part-time officers would not be union-covered employees, nor would they qualify for MSPRSI pension benefits. 

Ward 1 representative Brent Parker voiced concern that currently, part-time police officers are not required to undergo the rigorous training and civil service vetting process that full-time officers are required to pass. 

City Manager Travis Goedken reassured the council any part-time officer candidate would be vetted closely by city staff and Decorah Police Department Chief Tricia Thein, and would go through the same hiring process as non-411 employees. 

Ward 4 Rep Steven Zittegruen said, “I approve this hoping that staff will look further at this and make appropriate changes that would include the necessary amendments for this.” The addendum vote passed unanimously.

Full article can be found in the February 8 Decorah Public Opinion Newspaper.

Handbook amendment 

Public hearings

Open seats

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