New Fairview members neutrality is welcomed

Ted TosterudIt appears Ted Tosterud could be the turnaround the Fairview City Council needs.

At their Wednesday, Feb. 19, meeting, councilors spent time discussing a resolution to adopt a body of rules for creating and operating committees, commissions, task forces and other council-created advisory bodies.

The council had voted Dec. 4 to delay committee and commission appointments until it had finished a review and made amendments to “standardize the process” for committee operations.

At that time, the six councilors couldn’t seem to agree on a single candidate to fill two vacancies on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, voting 3-3 on all four candidates who had applied.

No one was appointed and votes were delayed until the council could “standardize the process.”

Those positions were finally filled Wednesday, and Tosterud was the deciding factor on one of the two parks committee appointments.

Councilors chose from five applicants to fill the two positions.

The council first voted on a motion to appoint Steve Kaufman.

Councilors Steve Prom, Dan Kreamier and Tami Arnold voted no.

Councilors Steve Owen, Barton Mullins and Mayor Mike Weatherby voted yes, as did Tosterud.

Kaufman was appointed 4-3.

The council then voted on a motion to appoint Garth Everhart to the second parks committee position. All councilors voted yes.

Positions on four other committees also were filled. However, the Arts and Community Events Advisory Committee, for which Councilor Tami Arnold is liaison, will readvertise for its four remaining vacancies.

Enjoyable so far

After the meeting, on the walk out to his car, Councilor Steve Owen mentioned he felt things on the council seemed to be working a little better that night.

Tosterud agreed.

“I think everyone feels it’s improving,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s all because of me,” he said. “They just know where I am coming from. I don’t have any surprises.”

Appointed Jan. 15 to the council seat previously filled by Ken Quinby, Tosterud has served at two council meetings thus far. He also holds positions on the public safety and economic development advisory committees.

“It’s been very enjoyable so far,” Tosterud said. “There is a lot of collaboration. Not everyone is going to agree on every single point, but everyone is willing to work through issues.”

On being neutral

Tosterud, a retired businessman in medical sales, said the council is looking to him for neutrality.

“I represent a neutral side because I did not know or (have a relationship) with anyone on council,” he said.

But making decisions from a neutral stance isn’t new to Tosterud.

“I make judgments the way I did in business,” he said. “It’s all facts and data.”

He likes to keep politics out of it, he said. “I strictly make a decision on information and data and the facts I have in front of me.”

As the new guy, Tosterud is still orienting himself to the ins and outs of the council and getting caught up on city issues.

“I ask a lot of questions of the councilors,” he said. “I spend a lot of time talking with people about issues that are going to come up on council, and try to gain further understanding.”

Tosterud reviewed all the minutes for the parks committee from July to January before coming to his decision.

Tosterud said he cannot make judgments based on things people have told him about the past and controversies he was not present for.

He also followed process by reading applications and asking applicants questions. “I did the same for everyone else,” he said.

Tosterud said he voted for Kaufman based on the fact that he had long-term previous experience with the parks committee.

“I thought he would do a good job, and that is the reason I voted for him,” he said.

Agreeing to disagree

Tosterud, who plans to run for the council in November, said he believes disagreement on the council is healthy. “Disagreement creates questions, and I think that’s healthy,” he said.

“We are not supposed to all vote 7-0 on everything,” Tosterud said. “There are going to be times where there are differences on the council.”

But it worked out Wednesday. “Everybody walked away as a friend,” he said. “And so that’s why I think the council is improving.”

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