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  Friday January 30th, 2015    

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Help wanted: elected official sought by county (02/17/2013)
By Sarah Squires
Usually, she is hired by voters who check her name on the ballot because they feel she can do the job.

This time, however, voters will not decide who the next Winona County Auditor/Treasurer will be. Instead, after longtime Auditor/Treasurer Sue Rivers retired late last year, the remainder of her term will be filled by a person appointed by county leaders.

While the Winona County Board has yet to determine the details of the appointment process—mainly, whether the board or the County Administrator will interview and select the new hire—the list of qualifications sought in candidates was recently approved by the board. The packet resembles the kind of high-level manager recruitment materials often distributed to people who do not live in the area, offering information about the community the new person will serve.

Several pages of qualifications, from accounting skills to the ability to manage staff members during budget cuts, are included in the recruitment packet, which calls for a person who can meet the requirements of the elected office, too: the candidate must be eligible to vote in Minnesota, must be 21 years of age and have lived in the county for at least 30 days before taking office.

Commissioners reviewed the list of qualifications with one change. The recruitment document must let potential candidates know that the position is an elected one, and if a person would like to keep the job, he must be prepared to run for office in 2014.

County Administrator Duane Hebert has proposed in the past that the Auditor/Treasurer position become permanently appointed and no longer an elected post. A majority of County Board members, however, have expressed a desire to keep the selection of the Auditor/Treasurer in the hands of voters. If the position were to be changed to an appointed one, the switch would require either special state legislation or a referendum vote. Earlier this month, several commissioners reiterated the desire to keep the position elected.

“It is an elected position,” said Commissioner Marcia Ward, who has long held that voters are responsible enough to choose an appropriate person for the job.

Hebert said the question of whether the Auditor/Treasurer should be appointed or elected in the future was a conversation the board still needed to have, adding there was no rush to decide the matter now.

Commissioners are expected to continue discussion about the position later this month during a strategic planning meeting. Keep reading the Winona Post for more on this story. 


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