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County Board lukewarm to changing some elected officials to appointed heads

McLeod County commissioners had a lukewarm response to the idea of making some elected officials appointed department heads.
The topic was discussed at Tuesday morning’s workshop session.
County Administrator Pat Melvin presented a spreadsheet that shows that many counties have made the traditionally elected auditor, treasurer and recorder positions into appointed department heads.
Commissioner Ron Shimanski said the demands of those positions were much more than when they were created over a century ago.
In addition, said County Attorney Mike Junge, only the county attorney and county sheriff have specific requirements attached to them. A county attorney must have a law degree, and county sheriff must attain a law enforcement license within a year of election if he or she does not have one prior to the election.
Otherwise, most positions can be filled by any qualified voter over the age of 18.
Commissioner Sheldon Nies said he would prefer that residents make the decision as to whether those positions should be elected or appointed.
“If we’re going to do it, put it on the ballot,” said Nies.
Commissioner Paul Wright said he is “not sure how much of a push or a need there is to do it.”

For more, see the Sept. 7 print edition of The Chronicle.