Wadena County unearths appointment process discussion for county recorder
The board is discussing the county recorder position for possibly going through the appointment process. County recorder Soledad Henriksen does not intend to file for office.
WADENA — With planned work sessions for their second board meetings of the month, Wadena County will bring the appointment process to the discussion table.
The discussion returned as county auditor-treasurer Heather Olson and recorder Soledad Henriksen shared letters about their intentions on running for office, which were due Feb. 1. Olson does plan to run and Henriksen does not. Olson was elected in 2018. The board is discussing the county recorder position for possibly going through the appointment process .
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and the trust that residents of Wadena County have given me over my years of service,” Henriksen said in her letter. She has worked with the county for 32 years, including 16 years as the recorder. She will retire on Jan. 3, 2023.
The appointment process includes a public hearing to discuss the change, notice of the resolution in the county newspaper for two weeks and deciding on the resolution following the hearing. The recorder position will remain on the November ballot unless the board makes a change. The filing date for offices is May 17.
The review of appointed versus elected for the recorder position would be “prudent,” as county coordinator Ryan Odden said, with Henriksen’s intent not to file for office. Minnesota statute includes specific instances when the appointment process can occur. If both positions are changed to the appointment process, a contract would need to be made with Olson.
At a public hearing in December 2020 , incoming commissioners Murlyn Kreklau and Mike Weyer shared questions and no other residents were present. Commissioners did receive phone calls about the subject, which noted people against the idea. Commissioners agreed making only one of the positions appointed instead of elected would not be as controversial.
“I had a lot of phone calls last time of people, constituents that were dead set against it, us doing this,” said commissioner Sheldon Monson. “The biggest reason that I heard from constituents is they felt it took away their opportunity at the ballot box, and they wanted that still on their ballot.”
The appointed position would have benefits like changes to the role of the position and hiring in the open market instead of anyone who qualifies to run for office, as Kangas said. Monson said the benefits to the taxpayers as well as an understanding of the pros and cons would need to be part of the process.
In other action on Feb. 1, the board also approved:
- Updated costs for a tandem axle cab and chassis and dump body hoist plow equipment. Due to material shortages and rising costs, the items have increased by several thousand dollars. The board approved the purchases in 2021.
- Two grant applications for a trail along the Greenwood Avenue project , which is for pedestrian access with the Tri-County Health Care project. County engineer Darin Fellbaum said snow removal for the trail is in the cooperative agreement with the city of Wadena, and the maintenance is the responsibility of the county. Kangas voted against the grant applications due to the maintenance and the trail benefiting mostly people in Wadena not Wadena County.
- A resolution to support increased Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment (SCORE) grant funding from the state for Solid Waste. Supervisor Wade Miller noted the high costs of recycling, which state funds do not cover. There are also high taxes associated with the Municipal Solid Waste Management tax.