At the December 12 meeting of the county board elected official salary requests and another request for support of a land acquisition to be donated to the DNR were discussed.
Michael Tenney, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, asked the board to support the purchase of 92.8 acres, located in sections 1 and 12, in the city of Rushford Village. The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is to receive a Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant to purchase the property which would then be donated to the DNR as part of the Rush Creek Woods Wildlife Management Area.
County board approval is required for a CPL grant acquisition. The property consists of forest and agricultural land and currently is in the conservation reserve program. Owner Dan Ryan wants the land to be available for public use and wildlife habitat.
Tenney commented that the National Wild Turkey Federation and Pheasants Forever are financially supporting this acquisition. This was discussed at a Rushford Village city meeting. The DNR will make payments in-in-lieu-of-taxes on the property.
Commissioner Duane Bakke noted some concern for dwellings across the road, but acknowledged there already has been hunting on this property. He moved to approve the request. Support for the acquisition was approved with Commissioner Mitch Lentz voting no.
Elected officials each year come before the board to list responsibilities and duties, and accomplishments of their department. They then make a salary request for the coming year. The county has in the past aimed for 95% of the average of salaries of the southeast Minnesota counties without Olmsted County.
County Attorney Brett Corson has served the county since 2003. He maintained that the voters in Fillmore County evaluate his performance every four years. He insisted part of his job is to advocate for the county and its employees. His department deals with criminal cases, juvenile offenders, juvenile protection cases, child support establishment, civil commitments, enforcement of zoning regulations, contracts, adult protection, election issues, and more. Corson added he is licensed in federal court.
Corson proposed setting the average salary by taking the three highest salaries and the three lowest salaries out of the 13 county area average. With this method the average would be $115,174. This would be an increase of $11,000 over his current salary. County coordinator Bobbie Vickerman reported that Corson has budgeted $110,000 for his salary in the department’s 2018 budget.
County Recorder David Kiehne has served as recorder since 2007. He has been with the county, first as an appraiser, since 1998. He signaled he intends to run for another four -year term in 2018. His department ensures that documents are properly and timely recorded. He added his experience as an assessor broadens his understanding in working with legal descriptions and surveys. His office also provides abstract service.
The regional average county recorder salary for 2018 is around $70,000, his salary request. Vickerman said the recorder’s budget for 2018 has $70,000 for his salary. This would be less than a $5,000 increase from his current salary.
Commissioners will set the salaries for all elected officials including their own. Sheriff Tom Kaase has yet to bring his request to the board.
Other business in brief
• The board again discussed draft changes to the Paid Time Off (PTO) policy. Human resources officer Kristina Kohn said there have been several additional comments. Chairman Randy Dahl suggested they produce a PTO policy and an Implementation policy. The PTO policy would not include implementation dates. The policy will limit the accumulation of PTO in the future.
The board implemented the first reading, second reading process for policy updates earlier in 2017. This makes for a transparent process and allows for employee input into the process. The PTO policy and suggested Implementation policy will be brought back for a first reading at a later date.
• Kohn said there were no additional comments on the draft changes to the Discipline policy on its second reading. The changes in the Discipline policy were approved.
• The temporary accounting technician position in the auditor/treasurer office was extended for up to six more months.
• Social Services manager, Kevin Olson requested and received approval of two cooperative agreements for county Child Support program. The first is an inter county agreement between his office, the county attorney, and county sheriff. The second agreement is with the state of Minnesota.
• A purchase of service agreement between Fillmore County and Stanley B. Stutzman M.A.L.P. was approved. Stutzman will provide clinical supervision for individual treatment plans and individual mental health service delivery provided by the case manager for one hour per week at $98/hour.
• Approval was given to enter into a Delegated Contracting Process Agreement with MnDot for federally funded projects. County Engineer Ron Gregg explained that in regard to federal projects, MnDot will act as the fiscal agent, but the county will run the project.
• Vickerman proposed choosing just one legal newspaper for simplicity purposes. This would mean all notices would be bid out together. Notices are also posted on the county website. Her proposal was approved pending county attorney approval. Newspaper bids are submitted late each year for the new year.
• Feedlot officer Mike Frauenkron was appointed to serve as a public contact and provide enforcement when needed for the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law. He will need to attend a training for this appointment in St. Cloud on February 20 and 21. There is no fee for the training.
• The last county board meeting in 2017 will be held on December 19.