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New board member: Should Wabasha County change supervisor position?

Brian Goihl

WABASHA — A new member of the Wabasha County Board of Commissioners wants to take advantage of an employee retirement by examining the person's job to see if it should be changed.

Commissioner Brian Goihl, who was elected in November, asked that the board not routinely hire another maintenance supervisor for the county highway department now that Tim Beck announced his retirement in April. The board accepted the resignation but didn't authorize the hiring of a replacement.

"Now is the time," Goihl said. "You have the opportunity to look now."

Lake City has a working foreman instead of a supervisor and maybe the county should follow suit, he said. "We are a smaller county, our staff is a lot smaller."

The county raised its levy by 9.5 percent this year and should explore whether the position should be changed, he said.


Board Chairman Mike Wobbe agreed. "Here is an opportunity, we're asking the questions."

Board members debated how to go about exploring possible changes. For example, Goihl suggested that department workers be asked for their opinions so they would be fully informed.

Goihl said he has been hearing from some workers, but County Attorney Karrie Kelly said it is more proper for workers to follow the chain of command and talk to a supervisor first. The board is a policy-making group, not one to get into the nitty-gritty of daily problems, she said.

If workers are asked to submit written comments, Commissioner Rich Hall said he wanted signed suggestions.

But if that was done, would employees think that all of their opinions would be followed? asked Krissa Bedsted, head of human resources.

County Administrator Michael Plante said he will give the county board some options during its next meeting and try to get some employee feedback.

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