Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Taking the Oath of Office

I was honored to take the Oath of Office for the position of District 3 Commissioner at today's Special Organizational Meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.  Also taking the Oath of Office were Commissioner Jan Hall (District 1), Commissioner Bruce Martinson (District 5), Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Attorney Tim Scannell, Recorder Dusty Nelms and Sheriff Mark Falk. 

County Board Chair and Vice Chair
The first order of business today was to elect a County Board Chair and Vice Chair; Jim Johnson and Jan Hall were unanimously elected to those positions, respectively. 

Official County Publications
The Cook County News Herald and the Cook County Web Page were designated as the official newspaper and publications of the County.

Citizen Boards & Commissions
The Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens to serve on several Boards and Commissions.  Contact Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers at 387-3640 or braidy.powers@co.cook.mn.us with interest in serving on any of the following:  Airport Advisory Committee, Extension Committee, Library Board, or Planning Commission.

2011 Commissioner Appointments to Boards, Commissions and Temporary Committees
A significant portion of today's Board Meeting was spent assigning the Commissioners to the over 100 Boards, Commissions and Committees we will serve on throughout 2011 which meet anywhere from monthly to annually throughout Northern Minnesota and in St. Paul.  The assignments will be compiled for another review at next week's County Board Meeting; once finalized, I'll post that list.

2011 Commissioner Departmental Liaison Assignments
County Department Liaison Assignments were agreed to as follows:
  • Sue Hakes:  Public Health/Human Services, Information Systems Management
  • Bruce Martinson:  Auditor/Treasurer, Recorder, Highway Department
  • Jim Johnson:  Attorney, Assessor/Land Commissioner, Court Administration
  • Janice Hall:  Personnel, Sheriff, Planning & Zoning
  • Fritz Sobanja:  Extension, Community Center, Maintenance
Open Forum and Work Session Discussion
A discussion was held regarding the possibility of adding a Public Comment period to County Board Meetings.  I fully support this addition to future agendas.  Providing an opportunity for the Public to address the Board with questions, concerns or ideas is an excellent way for the County Board to hear from the Public and begin meaningful dialogue.

Work sessions, in addition to the regularly scheduled Board meetings, were also discussed.  I fully support holding work sessions for the Board to discuss and process some of the more complex issues that come before us.  Examples of such issues that I would like to see discussed in a work session would include:  establishing County Priorities, One Percent Sales Tax prioritization and management, budget, team building and the Economic Development Authority (EDA).  The addition of Public Comment and Work Sessions to the County's process of doing business will be discussed again.