County uncertain about Nelson’s pay suit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2002

With a little embarrassement, the county board decided to defer action on the lawsuit by County Attorney Craig Nelson asking for higher pay.

&uot;Usually we ask Craig’s advice in this situation, but he is not here,&uot; County Administrator Ron Gabrielsen said in the board room, from which Nelson was excused during the discussion.

&uot;My philosophy is that we should pay pretty close to the middle; not on the top, not at the bottom,&uot; Gabrielsen said. But, he could not provide any concrete recommendation to the commissioners about the direction the board should follow.

Email newsletter signup

According to Gabrielsen, Nelson is asking for $80,000, about $8,000 more than the salary set for 2003. The increase would be around 15 percent from this year, if the board honors his request.

The board adopted a 3-percent salary increase for most county elected officials and employees during the last meeting on Dec. 3. Nelson had been asking the board for a larger raise, but was not present at the meeting.

Commissioner Dan Springborg moved and Glen Mathiason seconded to invite Nelson and his attorney, Bob Goldman, to the board meeting either Dec. 30 or Jan. 7. Four commissioners agreed with the proposal, but Commissioner Chair Dave Mullenbach opposed. &uot;All information is on the papers. I don’t see any sense,&uot; he said. Mullenbach believes letting the court handle the case would be appropriate and faster.

Nelson says county attorneys in other nearby counties with similar populations make more money than him for doing less work.

Other businesses in the board meetings are:

– The board gave its approval to EXOL to place a $10,000 bond for a survey to use County Ditch No. 16 Lateral 1-A as an outlet for its coolant water.

– The board adopted a $11,121,806 levy and $32,241,343 budget for 2003.

– Gabrielsen reported that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has dismissed a case filed by the owner of A&A Express Towing accusing the Sheriff’s Office of discrimination.