The first order of business of the Wright County Board at the Jan. 8 board meeting may have been the more important they will perform over their next four years – selecting committee assignments.
In recent years, such a process had taken about a minute to complete. Commissioners typically kept the same committee assignments from one year to the next.
But, with four new commissioners (Christine Husom, Mark Daleiden, Mike Potter and Charlie Borrell) the process took more than an hour.
With more than 60 committee assignments and advisory board appointments needed to be divided up among the commissioners, Board Chairman Pat Sawatzke said the process would likely be drawn out.
“There are currently 64 committees and advisory boards we serve on,” Sawatzke said. “Not knowing what interests any of the new commissioners have, I think we’ll have to go through these one by one.”
In the process, the board eliminated three committees from the list. The budget committee was eliminated and all budget questions will be heard by the budget committee of the whole, which includes all commissioners. The purchasing steering committee was discontinued and all purchasing questions will be referred to the ways and means committee. The committee to inspect roads was simply discontinued. In addition, two advisory boards were altered. The appointment to the Mid-Minnesota Mississippi River Research Conservation and Development (RC&D) was left open because the board hasn’t met in several years. The Solid Waste Task Force was also eliminated, referring questions that would have gone to that task force to the ways and means committee.
The other assignments were divvied up as follows. Commissioners are listed after the name of the committee. In the event a committee has an alternate, that commissioner is listed in parentheses:
COMMITTEES – BUDGET OF THE WHOLE: All commissioners; BUILDING, FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT: Daleiden, Potter (Borrell); CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT/FINANCE: Sawatzke, Daleiden (Potter); CIVIL DEFENSE: Husom, Sawatzke; DEFERRED COMPENSATION: Sawatzke, Daleiden; FORFEITED TAX SALES: Potter, Borrell; LABOR/MANAGEMENT HEALTH INSURANCE: Borrell, Potter (Husom); LABOR/MANAGEMENT LOSS CONTROL: Husom, Borrell; NOXIOUS WEED APPEALS: Borrell, Daleiden; TECHNOLOGY: Borrell, Daleiden (Husom); TRANSPORTATION OF THE WHOLE: All commissioners; UNION NEGOTIATIONS: Sawatzke, Husom (Daleiden); WAYS AND MEANS: Sawatzke, Husom (Borrell).
ADVISORY BOARDS – AREA TRANSPORTATION PLANNING: Potter; BERTRAM CHAIN OF LAKES: Sawatzke, Daleiden; CENTRAL MINNESOTA EMS JOINT POWERS BOARD: Husom (Borrell); CENTRAL MINNESOTA JOBS & TRAINING WORKFORCE CENTER: Husom; CLEARWATER RIVER WATERSHED DISTRICT: Husom; COUNTY EXTENSION SERVICE: Borrell, Potter; CROW RIVER ORGANIZATION OF WATER: Borrell (Potter); DELEGATES TO AMC: All commissioners; EAST CENTRAL JOINT POWERS BOARD: Sawatzke; ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP: Potter; GREAT RIVER REGIONAL LIBRARY: Sawatzke; HIGHWAY 55 COALITION: Potter, Husom; HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Sawatzke; LAW LIBRARY BOARD: Husom; MEADA (METH EDUCATION AND DRUG AWARENESS): Husom; MONTICELLO JOINT PLANNING: Sawatzke; PARKS ADVISORY BOARD: Daleiden; PLANNING COMMISSION: Borrell; PUBLIC WORKS LABOR/MANAGEMENT: Husom (Sawatzke); REGION 7W ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Potter (Sawatzke); REGION 7W TRANSPORTATION: Potter; REGIONAL CRIME LAB: Husom; REGIONAL RADIO BOARD: Borrell (Husom); SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WRIGHT COUNTY: Husom; SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT: Borrell; TWIN CITIES URBANIZED AREAS BOUNDARIES: Daleiden; WATER MANAGEMENT TASK FORCE: Daleiden; WRIGHT COUNTY AG SOCIETY: Borrell; WRIGHT COUNTY COMMUNITY ACTION COUNCIL: Daleiden, Borrell; WRIGHT COUNTY MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL HAZARD MITIGATION PLANNING: Husom.
In other items on the Jan. 8 meeting, the board:
• Selected Sawatzke as the board chairman for 2013 with Husom being named vice chair.
• Despite a citizen request to change the time, kept the weekly county board meeting times for 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Tom McGregor of Maple Lake asked that the commissioners change meeting times to 3 p.m. Tuesdays in order to allow more participation for citizens who work during the day. Citing the reduced time period to get agendas for the following week completed as well as reduced time to complete board minutes, the board approved keeping meetings at 9 a.m. but left the option open to conduct evening meetings for topics that are of heightened public interest.
• Re-appointed Assessor Greg Kramber to a four-year term.
• Awarded the bid for the official county newspaper to the Howard Lake Herald Journal, whose overall bid was markedly lower than the other three bids received.
• Approved signatures on the annual Green View contract. Green View is a program that hires needy elderly people to work in county parks. The program has been in operation for almost 40 years.
• Authorized participation in the Minnesota Cities Participation Program’s First-Time Homebuyers Program.
• Approved 64 tobacco licenses for 2013, including the cities of Albertville, Clearwater, Cokato, Delano, Hanover, Maple Lake, Monticello, Montrose, Otsego, Rockford, South Haven, St. Michael and Waverly.
• Scheduled a closed session for 10:30 a.m. following the Jan. 15 board meeting to discuss labor negotiation strategies.
• Appointed former commissioner Elmer Eichelberg to a three-year term on the Wright County Parks Commission representing District 4.
• Canceled the committee meetings scheduled for Jan. 23.
• Approved use of the old jail gymnasium in the county courthouse for use for after-work Zumba classes. The classes will take place from 4:50 to 5:50 p.m. Tuesdays. The first session will run from Jan. 15 to Feb. 19. The second session will run from March 4 to April 18.
• Reappointed Michael Messina as a citizen representative to the Great River Regional Library Board.
Freelancer John Holler covers government and the Wright County Board of Commissioners.