To many the role of mayor or council member may seem simple — go to a meeting, vote and go home. However, the reality of policy leadership is more complex, challenging and interesting. In fact, the roles of mayor or council are multi-faceted, fluid and at times can be situational. The many roles that policy leaders assume all require various skills and may rely on a variety of strategies and methods. Also, there are general components of leadership such as communication or representation that are part of nearly all situations or roles.
Monroe’s government is made up of a mayor and five council members. The mayor is elected for a two-year term and councilpersons serve four-year terms. There are no wards in Monroe, just a general election. Any resident over 18 can vote, if they are registered and live in Monroe.
The city council acts as the official policy-making body of the city, adopting all ordinances, resolutions and approving contracts required by the city. The Council analyzes proposals to meet community needs, initiates action for new programs and determines the ability of the city to provide financing for city operations. The council also reviews, modifies and approves the annual budget. Additionally, the council performs other miscellaneous duties, including appointments to various boards and commissions and responds to community groups and individual constituents. Each council member is assigned to a city department.
Council meetings are at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month. Council work sessions may be held as needed. Work sessions are informational only; no final decisions are made at these sessions. Special meetings may be called by the mayor, council member or city staff as needed. In addition to the meetings, you should allow time for other duties; such as out-of-town meetings and conversing with citizens. The council may spend several hours in meetings during the budget planning process.
Compensation for council members is $50 per meeting. The mayor receives a salary of $2,500 per year.
The nomination papers require at least 10 signatures of Monroe residents. The following seats are up for election: mayor Duinink, council members for a four-year term are — Andrea Steenhoek, Jennifer St. Peter and Jean Goemaat.
The filing period for candidates begins Aug. 23 and ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 16. For questions and nomination papers you can go to the Iowa Secretary of State website at http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/electioninfo/cityelections.html or stop by the Monroe City Hall.