BLOOMINGTON — The five women and four men who serve on the Bloomington City Council unanimously agreed Monday to drop the automatic designation of "alderman" — action Mayor Tari Renner said was long overdue in light of current society.
"We set this up knowing that municipal code technically calls the elected officials 'aldermen,'" said City Manager Tim Gleason.
"Our (newly adopted) ordinance doesn't change that, but rather provides, for the purposes of the city code and internal use within the city, that the titles of 'council member' and 'alderwoman,' et cetera, have the same meaning as 'alderman,'" he added.
Jenn Carrillo, who was elected April 2 to represent Ward 6, said she made the request because she wanted her nameplate, business cards and official city signature to have her gender pronouns and have a word other than "alderman."
Carrillo told The Pantagraph on Friday she urged some of the other incoming council members to request the same thing.
While Kim Bray, who represents Ward 9 on the council, said she supported the change, she was not happy that a city ordinance was not followed that requires the mayor and council members to submit a form for a topic to be discussed at a work session before it ends up on a voting session agenda.
"It wasn't just a single alderperson asking for something," said Renner. "This was something that seemed to have administrative and council support."
While Gleason said he saw the request from three newly elected council members as a matter that was within his authority to place on the agenda, Bray said she doesn't want the city manager to be put in a "position wherein groups of aldermen are going to him and lobbying him to build an agenda when it is something that is actually subject to the council member ... agenda initiative process.
"I want to make sure we are all on the same page as to how we actually do our business in front of the people, not behind doors, not certain select groups," Bray added. "We have a process that we follow to get items on the agenda."
Carrillo said, "I don't think there was any effort to lobby Tim or put him in a situation where he felt like that was something he had to put on the agenda."
The council also approved paying $55,000 to settle a 2017 civil-rights lawsuit involving four police officers. It also OK'd issuing its first permit for chickens in a residential neighborhood and expanding an enterprise zone so Brandt Industries can get a sales tax rebate for materials used in a $35 million expansion at its rural Hudson plant.
Ward 3 council member Mboka Mwilambwe was unanimously chosen to serve as mayor pro tem.
Eight people spoke during public comment against Connect Transit's decision to raise fares and terminate the Olive route. They called for adding bus riders to the transit system's board.
Ward 7 council member Scott Black suggested the city staff explore whether Connect Transit's bylaws allow for adding board seats to promote inclusion and diversity.