Three of five Winona County Board members would like to take back the authority to hire department heads and other key county personnel, after that power was relinquished to the County Administrator in October 2010. All that is left is to determine the details of the new policy, which is expected to be modeled after the procedure used in Winona County in 2004.
Board members, who discussed the issue on Tuesday during a strategic planning session, are expected to formalize the new hiring policy in July. A slim majority of board members — Marcia Ward, Steve Jacob and Board Chair Wayne Valentine — are expected to vote in favor of the change, with commissioners Greg Olson and Jim Pomeroy voicing firm opposition.
"They continually say we need more board oversight," said Valentine of his constituents' opinion on the board's taking control of department head hiring, a sentiment echoed by other board members in favor of the plan.
Pomeroy said he feared that the change would politicize the hiring process, and that county administration had the skills needed to hire the