La Crosse City Council plans to reduce size - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse City Council plans to reduce size

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The city of La Crosse is making changes to their council size and committee structure.

Reinvention, LLC., a consulting firm, is helping the city shift the way they work.  Saturday morning at a special city council meeting, members decided to change how many council members there are and how the committees work. The council decided to reduce its size from 17 members to 13. They also decided to re-structure their committees.

It's all a part of the recommendations from Walter Jankowski, a Reinvention Consultant, on how to stream-line the city's decision-making process.

Currently 17 city council members are elected by district and re-elected every four years.  Elections are staggered so that every other April half of the common council seats are up for election. By deciding to reduce the council size to 13, the council members will be coterminous with the county board supervisors.

Jankowski said, "At least from a citizen stand point it will make it much easier in voting-now they are voting for this district and not making it more complex than it has to be."

Districts nine through 17 are up for re-election in 2015, then all districts will be up for re-election in 2017.

The city council also decided to re-size and re-structure its 62 committees. The committees will be re-aligned, some will be eliminated and some will be combined.

Instead of 17 separate department heads reporting back to Mayor Kabat, there would be an executive team of about seven people, said Jankowski.

Mayor Tim Kabat said, "We have a tendency to have a particular issue go through many committees and get argued over and over." Jankowski and his recommendations should streamline the decision making process. 

Right now committees meet once a month, but that would change to twice a month under Jankowski's recommendations.

All of these changes are meant to create a more efficient city government to benefit its constituents, but re-sizing the council and changing the committees is just the first part of the consulting firms recommendations.

The decisions made Saturday technically aren't official yet. The city has to put charter ordinances in place to begin the process of re-structuring. The process could take up to four months. The city hopes to have those ordinances in place by June and begin re-organizing in September.

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