Letter: Similarities exist between county board, HLWDWhat is the purpose of a governmental board comprised of citizen members? In the case of county boards, they serve a four-year term and are responsible for the operation of the county and its delivery of services
By: Kris Sturm, Worthington, Worthington Daily Globe
What is the purpose of a governmental board comprised of citizen members? In the case of county boards, they serve a four-year term and are responsible for the operation of the county and its delivery of services. What is the purpose of an administrator? In the case of a county administrator, the administrator is the head of the county for the management of those affairs placed in the administrator’s charge, which includes preparing and executing the county’s budget, long-range capital expenditure planning, as well as serving as the purchasing agent for the county (Minnesota Statute 375A.06). The administrator serves at the pleasure of the board.
Many letters have been written to the editor regarding what has been going on in Nobles County with respect to its administrator. Some letters have implied the administrator has been “running the board of commissioners,”“ with one even asking the question why the county even has an elected board when they have an administrator.
For quite some time there have been similar problems faced within the governmental office known as the Heron Lake Watershed District (H.LWD), as there have been letters to the editor at local papers raising questions. In October, a public hearing regarding the HLWD’s water management plan included a controversial water management district (WMD). Apparently the $250,000 levied through property taxes is not enough for the HLWD and its administrator. One HLWD board member spoke out against the WMD, as well as about 20 others attending the public hearing. I found it very troubling that not all the managers were present at this public hearing.
Regardless of the overwhelming public opposition, the plan was forwarded on to the State of Minnesota, but I can find no mention in the HLWD’s published minutes, since the October hearing, involving any formal board action taken on the plan. Has the administrator taken it upon herself to act on behalf of the board? Why, then, do we need a board of managers who are supposed to be responsible for the operation of the HLWD? The HLWD is supposed to be governed by a locally appointed board of managers. Two are appointed by the Nobles County commissioners, who opted for the “status quo” with respect to their appointment in 2012, in spite of a public dissatisfied.
Doesn’t it seem there are some distinct similarities between Nobles County and the HLWD?