For many high school juniors, this is a time when they start taking a serious look at what they’re going to do with their lives after high school. For those who intend to go to college, a potential career working for a county government is a potential career path some may choose to follow.
As a way of giving students an insight as to how county government operates, on April 23 Wright County hosted approximately 50 students as part of the annual Boy/Girl County Day. It’s one thing to learn about government in textbooks. It’s another to see how county government operates firsthand. Part of their day in Buffalo at the county courthouse included sitting in on the April 23 county board meeting, a process that had the commissioners happy to see the next generation of students getting excited about the prospect of a career in public service.
“This is one of the most pleasurable days we as commissioners have when we entertain the students for Boy/Girl Day,” Board Chairman Pat Sawatzke said. “It’s an opportunity for them to see how county government works and see the different jobs we do at the county level.”
The 2013 Boy/Girl County Day, included students from Buffalo, Cokato, Delano, Howard Lake-Waverly/Winsted, Maple Lake and Monticello High Schools. In a whirlwind day, the students heard presentations from department heads representing the court services, county attorney, sheriff, veterans services, planning and zoning surveyor, parks, information technology, human services, highway, extension, auditor-treasurer, assessor and recorder departments.
The day, which is co-sponsored by American Legion volunteers, is something that gives the county department heads a great deal of pride in introducing the students to the service they perform for county residents.
“Most of these students are high achievers who are heading off to college,” Sheriff Joe Hagerty said. “We like having the opportunity to showing them what careers are available in county government. It’s always enjoyable to work with students who want to have a career where they can make a difference. Hopefully, some of the students we have here today may consider a future working in county government.”
In other items on the April 23 agenda, the board:
* Approved the March revenue/expenditure guidelines. As part of the approval, Auditor-Treasurer Bob Hiivala informed the board that, in show of government transparency, once approved, the monthly revenue/expenditure guidelines will be posted on the county’s website so residents can see how the county is spending its budgeted money.
* Received the annual report from county coroner Dr. Quinn Strobel. In 2012, there were 375 deaths in Wright County – none of them being homicides. It was the third time in the last four years that there have been no homicides in Wright County.
* Approved a resolution proclaiming May 5-11 as Corrections Officers Week in Wright County. Established by President Reagan in 1984, the purpose of the week is to recognize the duties performed by those in the corrections field and honor those who supervise inmates in correctional facilities.
* Accepted a donation from the Cedar Lake Association to provide shifts for a seasonal employee to serve as a watercraft inspector at the public access in Schroeder Park. The hope is to detect potential water hazards like Eurasian mifoil and zebra mussels that can spread through a lake and significantly damage the water quality. Parks Administrator Marc Mattice said that the plan is for his office to provide additional funds out of its budget to add to the number of work shifts the county can have at the lake. Asked if other county-owned public accesses could make similar requests, Mattice said that this is a pilot project and, depending on how things go with the inspection process, the program may get consideration to be expanded in the future, but no commitment long-term will be made until after the project winds down in late summer.
* Approved issuing requests for proposal for upgrades to the county’s 911 emergency software system. The bids are scheduled to be opened at the May 14 board meeting.
* Accepted the March report from the Tri-County Regional Forensics Laboratory. The monthly reports show the activity at the lab and what each of the member law enforcement entities use the lab and the services it provides.
* Scheduled a technology committee of the whole meeting for 10:30 a.m. following the May 14 board meeting. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the future of the county’s technology used in the sheriff’s dispatch center.
* Authorized Commissioners Mark Daleiden and Charlie Borrell to meet with Wright Soil and Water Conservation District officials to determine what action needs to be taken concerning repairs needed on County Ditch 38.
Freelancer John Holler covers government and the Wright County Board of Commissioners.