The first meeting of the new year typically results in a turnover of leadership with the Rice County Board of Commissioners.  Commissioners today voted unanimously for District 5 Commissioner Jeff Docken to be the new Chair.  Newly elected District 1 Commissioner Jim Purfeerst was selected Vice Chair by unanimous vote.

The Oath of Office was taken by Commissioners Docken, Purfeerst and District 2 Commissioner Galen Malecha. Supervisor for Soil and Water Conservation District 1 Tim Little, District 2 Richard Cook and District 4 Michael Ludwig took the oath.

Rice County Assessor Paul Knutson and Surveyor Mike Fangman were also sworn into their positions.

Oher first meeting of the year business included the appointments of Commissioners to various boards and committees.  Everything from Age Friendly Northfield Committee to the Zumbro River One Watershed One Plan.  51 boards and committees in addition to all commissioners being delegates to the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC).

Commissioner Steve Underdahl will be on the Environment and Natural Resources AMC Policy Committee.

Commissioner Galen Malecha is on the Health and Human Services AMC Policy Committee.

Commissioner Jim Purfeerst was appointed to the Transportation and Infrastructure AMC Policy Committee.

Commissioner Jeff Docken is on the Public Safety AMC Policy Committee.

County Administrator Sara Folsted will be on the General Government AMC Policy Committee.

Commissioners did approve the hiring of two full time and one part time custodian.  Facilities Department director Mat Verdick explained the fiscal impact would be between $116,789 and $166,807 depending on what benefit packages the employee chooses.

Commissioner Malecha told Verdick, "I'm going to vote to support it but as you've all heard my concern was, are we going to be saving money doing it this way in ten years?  While we look to the future is it going to cost more to have our own employees versus contracting it out?"

Commissioner Docken responded, "We also don't know what a contract would cost in ten years either so it's kind of a, I mean you can look at both ways too.  I think in house is a good deal.  First of all we have somebody on staff all the time (that's available) if we have spills.  If we have snow events where we have traipsing in so much in the hallways and so on.  It's certainly nice to be able to clean that up right away and be on top of those things for safety reasons."

The first meeting of the year lasted about 25 minutes.

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