Cass County Board: Promotions offered for maintenance foreman positions

EAST GULL LAKE -- Cass County will name a maintenance foreman to oversee operations at each of its six county highway garages.

The county board approved the new positions Tuesday, July 16, but with the stipulation that no additional full-time or part-time personnel be hired. The promotions for the six positions will cost the county between $10,000 and $25,500 more than leaving all personnel at the same pay level.

Commissioners Dick Downham and Neal Gaalswyk, who serve as the board’s personnel committee this year, recommended the change after reviewing highway department operations with County Engineer Darrick Anderson.

The goal will be to make the department more proactive than reactive, the committee said in their recommendation for approval.

The foreman will serve as a point of contact for road conditions, oversee accurate timekeeping, provide safety training, coordinate beaver control and provide maintenance project planning with the maintenance engineer.


Applications for the foreman position will not be sought until after all currently vacant motor grader positions have been filled.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

Asked environmental services staff to further review contract terms before recommending contracts for approval to manage the county’s garbage and recycling operations and transportation for disposal.

KDR, the county’s current contractor, agreed to continue managing operations until a new successful bidder is selected. KDR was not among the apparent low bidders. The board expects to consider selecting a new operator or operators Aug. 6.

Approved submitting a draft of the Pine River One Watershed One Plan to the northern region of the state Board of Soil and Water Resources for approval.

Received a report from Don Daraskevich, Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust, on the county’s experience with claims through the joint powers organization for property, liability and workers compensation coverage.

MCIT provides member counties with safety and prevention training for their employees to help them minimize the number and severity of claims, Daraskevich said. It also offers voluntary counseling to employees and their dependents.

Cass’ highest number and severity of property/casualty claims were for autos. The county’s highest number and severity of workers’ compensation claims were for the sheriff/jail operations, followed by the highway department.


Received a report from Matt Varilek, president, and Jeff Wig, vice president, of the Initiative Foundation, on their activities. Cass has contributed about $17,500 annually to that foundation. They said the county receives $4.22 for every dollar the county invests in the Initiative Foundation.

That foundation provides grants to cities, businesses, nonprofits and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. It arranges business financing for businesses and contributes to charitable funds.

Accepted $300,089 federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes and authorized distributing 30 percent of $128,609 to townships within the Chippewa National Forest.

Approved paying Essentia Health $100 per hour for licensed physician services, not to exceed $2,000 per year through June 30, 2020.

Accepted $52,230 from Minnesota DNR for the county’s boat and water safety program.

Learned the county earned $692,540.90 interest on investments through June this year, compared with $612,340.75 last year.

Learned the county sold $74,050 from timber sales to loggers at a June 27 auction. Five of six tracts of timber offered were sold. Loggers paid $40.53 per cord for 1,100 cords of aspen and $47.10 per cord for 231 cords of red pine bolts and pulp, the next highest volume sold.

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