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Commissioners set quarterly meetings for updates on personnel, budget

Crow Wing County commissioners decided to keep separate committees for personnel and budget.

In late 2011, the board considered revamping its personnel and budget committees so that all five commissioners would attend instead of appointing two commissioners to each committee.

Board members previously said while committee members were up to date on budget or personnel issues, the others did not get the information until later county board sessions.

Options for the board included disbanding the committees or joining them into one. Another committee included in Tuesday’s discussion was the technology committee, which has not met with recent regularity although that was expected to change with the county’s hiring of a new information technologies director. Commissioner Rosemary Franzen asked if the board members may want to attend the IT meetings to find out what is happening. Commissioner Phil Trusty said the board could “meeting” themselves to death and the board is hiring staff who should be able to do the job.

Board Chairman Doug Houge suggested operating the personnel and budget committees as the county has been, but setting aside a Committee of the Whole meeting each quarter to bring those issues together to the board so they could be discussed before the group.

The auditor-treasurer office is also noted for attendance at those committee meetings although Tami Laska, human resources director, noted there has been discussion that rotating among other senior leadership for committee attendance does broaden the perspective.

In other business, the board:

Approved an extended lease to Camp Vanasek, on Whipple Lake in Baxter, for 10 years to Jan. 22, 2022, for $1 per year. The lease comes with the option to extend again for another 10 years. Camp Vanasek started in 1949 as a camp for girls.

Learned an all-day session is being planned March 30 with the Mississippi Headwaters Board with all 40 county commissioners, their water planners and representatives from planning and zoning to look at a work plan written by Mitch Brinks, Crow Wing County water protection specialist.

The session is expected to look at potential grant funding options, such as from the Board of Water and Soil Resources and Legacy dollars, and is anticipated to include a presentation from Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner.

Met in closed session for a performance appraisal for interim county engineer Rob Hall.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
(218) 855-5852