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Wadena County sets future work sessions

The first work session is on Feb. 8. Commissioners will then decide if the model works well for future meetings. 

Wadena County commissioners pose for a photo.
Wadena County board members include (from left) commissioners Bill Stearns, Murlyn Kreklau, Sheldon Monson, Mike Weyer and Jon Kangas.
Contributed / Verndale Sun
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WADENA — With the goals of having more time to discuss topics and efficiency, Wadena County commissioners moved their second meeting of the month to work sessions. The sessions will have set agendas based on planned topics without board action.

The first work session is on Feb. 8. Commissioners will then decide if the model works well for future meetings.

The board regularly discusses a range of topics during the weekly meetings before approving or denying requests. Though, commissioners have noted wanting more information and time to discuss certain topics, such as spending requests.

Following the work session, the topics would then come on the consent agenda (which are items approved in one motion) or as regular board agenda items. Commissioners would have additional time to research the topics between the work session and the next county board meeting. The set work sessions follow area counties including Todd, Hubbard and Otter Tail counties.

“It’s just amazing the things that you could talk about, you know they reviewed the budgets,” said Commissioner Murlyn Kreklau on Jan. 18. “There’s things that would be nice if we had the time to talk about. I think it would make more of a consensus before we get to tough issues that we’ve talked about them and we aren’t arguing over something on the agenda because it’s all new to us. Maybe we’d have a better working relationship.”

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The work sessions and setting agendas early will also help save time for coordinator Ryan Odden, as commissioners said. Department leaders will be asked to submit action and agenda items to Odden about a week in advance for the regular board meetings. The process will allow for commissioners to review the documents and prepare questions well in advance. The board minutes and warrants will run one week behind due to the change.

One of the biggest ongoing discussions is the American Rescue Plan Act funds, of which the county received $2.7 million. Commissioner Jon Kangas added ongoing training topics such as commissioners roles with data practices and the open meeting law are “lacking” and could be added to the work sessions.

Commissioner Bill Stearns was not present and commissioner Mike Weyer joined online for the Jan. 18 board meeting.

For more information on county board meetings, visit co.wadena.mn.us to view the upcoming events and agendas. The public is welcome to attend work sessions along with regular board meetings.

Commissioners also discussed the vaccination and testing policy that was to be required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Following the United States Supreme Court ruling to pause the Emergency Temporary Standard, county employees vaccination status will be deleted. The information was submitted digitally to the HR specialist without any hard copies. The information is not needed currently, as Odden said. If any requirements change in the future, county employees would re-enter their vaccination status.

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in enhancing online articles as well as education, feature and health reporting.
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