Difficult Details Resolved in Committees
In the latest version of what is perhaps the most important single decision that the County Board of Commissioners each year, commissioners handed out committee assignments for 2015 on Tuesday. While the general public typically only sees the commissioners at their weekly board meetings, the committee and advisory board assignments are the lifeblood of county government. They allow commissioners to discuss items at length before those items are brought before the entire county board for approval or denial.
Board Chairman Mike Potter said the committee-advisory board system is necessary in order to make the county run efficiently. “A lot of the committees and advisory boards have different functions and dynamics,” Potter said. “It just isn’t physically possible for all of us to be at the different committee meetings and advisory boards, so every week at board meetings we discuss what happened at those meetings so we don’t get blindsided like we did last year with the Trailblazer-River Rider issue.”
The board also meets in committees of the whole that discuss issues such as the budget and transportation. Generic committee-of-the-whole meetings are sometimes held regarding issues that are deemed important enough to require full-board attendance.
The rest of the committee and advisory board assignments are divided up between the commissioners so they can get background information on issues that will be brought before the entire board. With one exception – Commissioner Pat Sawatzke was subject to term limits on the Great River Regional Library Board – the commissioners agreed to all the committee assignments when four of the five came to the Wright County Board simultaneously.
There are many boards and committees. Commissioner Mark Daleiden has proposed that county administration determine which boards and committees are required by state law in order to potentially combine some of them and avoid duplication and repetition. “Some of the committees are interacting, like those dealing with emergency management and nuclear committees,” Daleiden said. “There should be a way to streamline them so we can run more efficiently. All I’m looking for is to have us look at the committee structure, see which ones are required by state law and go from there.”
With the committee assignments all effectively remaining the same, the commissioners expect to see the process of county government made easier by the structure of the committee-board system. They may not be meetings that most of their constituents are all that familiar with, but they serve a vital purpose.
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