Bill on appointments fails to leave Senate

Published 11:09 am Friday, May 27, 2011

Freeborn and Mower counties will have to wait until the Legislature’s special session to see if they will be appointing or electing its auditor-treasurer and recorder.

Dan Sparks

The Minnesota Senate didn’t pass a bill allowing the Mower, Freeborn and Marshall counties to appoint the auditor-treasurer and recorder before session ended Monday. The two positions are currently elected.

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the bill a few weeks ago. The Senate would have to follow suit in the special session, where the main focus of the Legislature is likely to be the state budget.

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“I think we just need to take some time and kind of make sure,” said Sen. Dan Sparks.

Part of that doubt may have come from Freeborn County. Last week, the Freeborn County board unanimously voted in support of a resolution to inform the Legislature that Freeborn County does not want to participate in the program.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean officials from Mower and Marshall won’t have a say.

“At the end of the day, we’ll just have to talk to our local officials and come back to it,” Sparks said.

In fact, many Mower County officials have come out in favor of appointment. Economics is driving the push to make the positions appointed in Mower County, as officials argue the board could combine the auditor-treasurer and recorder positions under one department and possible save more than $70,000 a year.

“Everything is about job sharing anymore, and this is what we have to do to be up to date with what’s going on in the world,” Tim Gabrielson, chairman of the Mower County Board of Commissioners, said recently.