A representative from the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), Matt Hilgart, appeared before the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, to discuss the upcoming special election in February.
Due to the pending resignation of current Auditor/Treasurer, Jon Clauson, an interim Auditor/Treasurer needs to be appointed. The county would like to make the positions of Auditor/Treasurer and County Recorder appointed, rather than elected.
Clauson recently tendered his resignation. He has been employed by the county for the past 43 years.
In addressing the board, Hilgart stressed that it is very important for the county to be transparent and engage the public about why they feel it is in the best interests of county residents to make this change.
He specifically mentioned that advances in technology have changed the way these jobs are done. He said, “The skills needed for these jobs are increasingly demanding and technical.” Because of this, he told the board that it is vitally important to have qualified people doing these jobs.
Hilgart pointed out that suburban and metropolitan counties have long held the power to appoint the positions of Auditor/Treasurer and Recorder. He also said that more and more counties in outstate Minnesota have been making the change to these positions being appointed, rather than elected.
The board is currently accepting applications for an interim Auditor/Treasurer, as Clausons’s term was set to expire in November of 2018.
Interviews with applicants are expected to begin in early December, with the interim being selected by the beginning of the year in order to give the interim a chance to work alongside Clauson for a few weeks.
The board will be making every effort to inform the voters of Chippewa County about the proposed ballot question. One or more public forums will be scheduled, possibly in different communities, to discuss and answer questions about the special election ballot question.
In other business, the board held a hearing for Re-establishing records for Joint County Ditch #9 of Chippewa and Swift Counties. Original, as-built records simply no longer exist, and a water problem upstream of 140th Avenue needs to be addressed.
Mark Origer, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources made the purpose of re-establishing the records clear. “This is not meant to approve or deny permits for repairs. It is to re-establish the records. Once that is done, recommendations can be made.”
The DNR is concerned that changes to the ditch could negatively impact existing conditions to the watershed.
A motion was made to accept various reports in regards to JCD #9, and the motion carried.
A bid opening was held in the providing of aggregate materials to the county. Five bids were received, with low bid provided by R & G Construction of Marshall at $517,650. The county accepted the bid from R & G Construction.
Scott Williams, Land & Resource Management Director, spoke about the renewal of the county’s recycling contract with Tostenson’s. Citing no issues or problems with Tostenson’s, he recommended that the county continue to do business with Tostenson’s by renewing their contract. The board agreed, and the recycling contract with Tostenson’s was renewed.
The date for the next regular meeting of the board was set for Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at 9 a.m. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.