In the past two years, two significant ordinances have changed the way that the City of Lodi operates. The first eliminated the city’s wards, the second streamlined the way committees work.
No More Wards
In August of 2017, the Common Council voted on Charter Ordinance 6 A-514. This ordinance did two things. 1) it effectively eliminated wards within the city, 2) it changed all alderpersons to “at-large” representatives.
Previous to this, Lodi–like most cities–was divided into sections (similar to congressional districts). Each ward could elect one alderperson to represent them. The issue with this, according to Mayor Jim Ness, was the difficulty in getting someone from each ward to run for city council. Some wards would have several candidates, while others had none.
The solution was to eliminate the wards and change all positions to at-large. An “at-large” alder represents the entire city. This changed the election process slightly. Each year, 3 seats come up for election. The top three vote-getters fill those seats.
This ordinance was approved August 15th of 2017, and became effective 60 days later. The April 2018 election was the first to fall under the new system.
Cleaning Up Committees
The second change was a minor alteration of an ordinance, and a more significant administrative reorganization. The ordinance, A-538, simply changed the date of Common Council meetings from the first Tuesday of the month to the third Tuesday.
This move allowed the Council to reorganize the various committees–as well as their meeting times–to create a more directed flow of information. Some committees–such as the Main Street Corridor Committee–were eliminated (their task was completed). Others were consolidated (Historic Preservation was rolled into the Planning Commission), as their purposes overlapped. Finally, schedules were changed.
All regular committee and council meetings happen on Tuesdays.
- First Tuesday: Public Safety, Public Works, Parks
- Second Tuesday: Economic Development, Finance & HR, Planning
- Third Tuesday: Common Council
The Library Board, and boards for the Fire Department and EMS are independent of the City and maintain their own schedules.
A Lodi native, Blaze attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where he graduated with a degree in theatre technology & design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world–including a 6-year stint in China. He has been a teacher, a writer, a designer, and is the founder of the Redleaf Consulting Group.