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Kangas elected to chair Cass County Board

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Kangas elected to chair Cass County Board

By MONICA LUNDQUIST

Cass County Correspondent

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WALKER — Cass County commissioners opened their first 2014 meeting by electing Bob Kangas chair and Neal Gaalswyk vice chair.

They reviewed four applications from legal firms wanting to succeed contract attorney Tom Fitzpatrick as the county’s legal counsel for labor negotiation and legal labor issues.

The board selected Pam Galanter from Madden, Galanter and Hansen law firm of Minneapolis as lead labor counsel, Dyan Ebert from Quinlivan and Hughes laws firm of St. Cloud for specialty services and Bill Everett of Everett and VanderWiel law firm of Rosemount for law enforcement labor services.

County Administrator Robert Yochum recommended the appointments, citing the fact Aitkin, Beltrami and Crow Wing Counties also use Galanter’s services. Aitkin and Crow Wing also use Ebert’s services.

Yochum said Cass tries to maintain comparable wage and benefit packages for employees to neighboring counties, so it should be easier to maintain consistency if more than one county uses the same legal services.

The commissioners approved 2014 meeting rules of business in which they

set the first meeting each month for 9 a.m. the first Tuesday all 12 months at the courthouse in Walker and the second monthly meeting for 9 a.m. the third Tuesday at the land department building in Backus for January through April and October through December.

The second monthly meeting May through September will be held at various township or city halls throughout the county beginning at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday. Exact locations will be announced this spring.

The board set daily meal and incidental expense reimbursements for employees at $20 per day for locations outside Cass County when no overnight travel is involved. No meal or incidental costs are paid for expenses incurred inside the county.

If overnight travel is involved, Cass will pay $46 per day when an itemized receipt is presented and higher rates when employees go to overnight events in the following counties: Hennepin and Ramsey, $71; Dakota and St. Louis, $56; Olmstead, $51.

The commissioners opened three bids for legal notice publication and voted to continue using Walker Pilot Independent as the county legal newspaper, with the Cass Lake Times to provide printing of the second financial statement.

Assistant county attorneys received board approval to continue benefits they had received while being represented by a union prior to 2013. They withdrew from union representation that year.

Those continued benefits include 15 hours of department head approved continuing legal education per year for a minimum of 45 hours in a three-year period to meet continuing education requirements. If state law changes to require more education, the additional education hours to meet state requirements would be paid by the county.

The county will pay the assistant attorneys’ bar association and licensing fees and a $600 per year professional maintenance allowance.

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