Eliminate per diem
Earlier this month the Brainerd Dispatch reported on the per diem payments paid to Crow Wing County Board members. The story revealed different attitudes and practices among the board members regarding these payments.
All of the commissioners answered the Dispatch’s questions on the issue, but the story made more than one reader wonder why we pay commissioners per diem. If Crow Wing County representation on the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission and the Kitchigami Regional Library Board is important then attendance at those meetings should be regarded as part of the job. Assuming the commissioners are able to fairly apportion the committee assignments at the beginning of each year, the burden should fall equally on all of them. Allowances could be made in scheduling the assignments to work around the job schedule of those commissioners with other employment.
After the workload is evenly distributed commissioners should be paid expenses and mileage. The board might even consider a salary increase to make up for the lost per diem.
Salary payments are more transparent than per diem payments and Crow Wing County residents would be able to quickly grasp what they’re paying for county board service. The Crow Wing County Board should seriously consider eliminating the per diem system for the sake of simplicity and consistency.