Appointees will serve fairly, look out for Winona County’s interests


From: Tessa Schweitzer
St. Charles

Regarding “Split votes appoint feedlot expansion critics” about the January 8 Winona County Commissioner’s meeting, I’d like to thank Marie Kovecsi, Greg Olson, and Chris Meyer for taking a firm, reasoned stand for a true democratic process by following Minnesota law in choosing a new County Board chair. We have a new board member since November’s election who wasn’t part of the rotation decision in 2015. I don’t see how rotation of chairmanship is fair when, on that plan, the new commissioner doesn’t have an opportunity to be considered for chair.

Steve Jacob already had his “turn” as the chair in 2015. It was a heavy-handed power grab when he, Marcia Ward, and Ken Fritz announced in local news before Christmas that Jacob would be serving as County Board chair without the new county commissioner sworn in yet.

I agree with Marie Kovecsi when she said, “This rural-city division is a smoke screen.” There is rural representation on the Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission, and the Winona County Zoning Ordinance limits urban representation. Rural, by the way, is not defined by acres owned or size of operation; and some are not more equal than others.

I’m from small-town Winona County and there are a lot of farmers, township, rural, and small-town residents who want the big guys, especially those whose operations have already been grandfathered in, to have to follow Minnesota and Winona County law as it’s written. The 1,500-animal unit cap makes sense and was adopted for the good of everyone in Winona County — including for our economy overall; and it should apply to everyone.

I want people serving on those boards to be interested in truly understanding what our zoning ordinance and conditional use statutes are and who will carefully consider all the facts and make decisions and recommendations accordingly. Those inclined to be ignorant of, or not follow ordinance and law leave the county legally vulnerable.

I am confident that these newly appointed and returning citizen board volunteers are people who care about their whole Winona County community and that they will serve with integrity and intelligence in a fair manner.


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