If a bill sponsored by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) becomes law, Jackson County may soon have an appointed, rather than elected, auditor-treasurer.
HF14 would allow the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to make the position an appointed office, provided that 80 percent of the board votes in favor of a resolution. Jackson County Coordinator Janice Fransen said the change is needed because the job has evolved into a highly specialized and technical position.
It is crucial that a highly qualified individual take this position, Fransen said, adding that such a skilled individual might not want to campaign for office.
The House Local Government Division approved the bill Jan. 26 and referred it to the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee. A companion, SF41, sponsored by Sen. Jim Vickerman (DFL-Tracy), was approved the same day by the Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee.
Rep. Rob Eastlund (R-Isanti) had reservations about what he sees as making elected officials appointed, arguing that it takes away a level of accountability to the voters.
Its the residents of Jackson County that we should be concerned about, Eastlund said.
The bill does provide for a process by which voters in Jackson County could petition the board to put the proposal to a referendum, in which case the public could vote to keep the position an elected office.
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