Wadena County Board hears election recap
As part of their Nov. 29 county board meeting, Wadena County Commissioners heard a report from Election Chair Rosalie Miller, of the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Miller provided commissioners with statistics on the general election process in Wadena County last month.
According to county figures, 7,539 people were registered to vote in the county as of 7 a.m. on Nov. 8. Just over 1,000 people requested absentee ballots. At the final canvass on Nov. 10, it was determined that 7,011 people voted – a 93 percent turnout, according to Miller.
As has become routine, the county’s voting returns were uploaded very late on election night. This time, the cause was telephone problems at the county, plus a discrepancy in uploading the data. Wadena County election officials had to remove all the data they uploaded on Tuesday night and reload it on Wednesday. The City of Staples was very late in reporting the votes in its precinct. A voting machine in Sebeka failed to work and had to be replaced.
Commissioner Sheldon Monson asked the board to publicly recognize the election staff for their hard work. A round of applause was offered, and the thanks of the board.
In other business, the board
o Accepted the resignation of a Friendly Rider Transit driver and authorized hiring a current part-time driver to fill the full-time vacancy created by the resignation.
o Discussed the Public Health Building remodeling project and approved the bids that came in for Phase 1. County Attorney Kyra Ladd pointed out that the county’s construction manager, Vercon, had not advertised for bids in the county’s official newspaper. She recommended that this mistake not be repeated. The project was not required to go out for bids since it was estimated to cost under $100,000, but since it was advertised, it should have been advertised in the official newspaper.
o Ladd and HR Director Curt Kreklau told the board that they believe that the county’s telephone system problems have been fixed. The system had been composed of equipment from five different vendors, and their equipment was not compatible. Effective immediately, only one vendor will operate the system, eliminating the incompatibilities.
o Approved the items presented by Public Health Director Cindy Pederson, who requested several changes in staff FTEs and 2017 budget lines, contract approvals for 2017 services to be provided and approval to order furniture for Phase 2 of the remodeling project.
o Approved the hiring of a witness coordinator for the County Attorney’s Office. The position will be funded 80 percent by a five-year renewable grant obtained by Ladd.
o Approved the hiring of a deputy to fill a vacant position in the sheriff’s department and the hiring/transfer of a deputy to fill the emergency manager position.
o Tabled the request of County Engineer Ryan Odden to add a department position to deal with drainage issues in the county. The position would be shared half with the Soil and Water Conservation District and half with the highway department.