Winona County planning director is leaving job

By Bob Freund

Winona County was putting the final touches on a long-term update of its zoning ordinance in 1987 when Todd Bram joined as assistant planning director.

In 2001, with Bram as county planning director, the county completed a rewrite of its comprehensive plan, an underlying document for the zoning ordinance. It was impressive enough to win an award from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Planning Association.

It's a good time to go on to something new, Bram said.


The 16-year veteran of county government left his post Tuesday, resigning after 11 years as planning director.

"I wear about 11 to 13 hats now," he said, referring to the plethora of programs the county planning director oversees. "What I'm looking for is to wear one hat and do the best job I can at it."

Bram, 43, who lives south of Lewiston, is not sure where he will find it. Bram is leaving without a new job.

Although formally off the payroll Wednesday, he may have a lingering departure. The county "is looking at a part-time contract for three months," he said.

County commissioners have ordered a three-month delay in hiring for any newly opened positions. It saves money and allows for reorganization of positions, County Administrator Robert Reinert said. In the interim, senior environmental technician Eric Johnson will lead the eight-member department.

During his tenure, Bram opened new planning topics through the county's Common Visions project, which got citizens involved in discussions about land use in the county. "It raised the community's interest on the issues," he said. Some results were used in the comprehensive plan rewrite.

More recently, the county's ordinance controlling livestock feedlots and their waste still has some residents talking.

Bram has also been in office during a period of growth. He cites development along the Mississippi River and in St. Charles as especially vigorous.

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