Brenner named new board chair
County board votes down pay increase for commissioners
Dick Brenner, Cloquet area Carlton County Commissioner and longtime DFL activist, was selected as the new county board chair at the yearly reorganizational meeting. The board chair position is traditionally rotated among the five sitting county board commissioners yearly. He has held the position in the past and is the senior member of the board.
Marv Bodie, commissioner from Thomson Township, was selected vice chair. Bodie works in Duluth for St. Louis County. He will chair the Committee of the Whole meeting each month, which focuses on in-depth discussion of current issues and rotating presentations of departments heads.
In a surprise move, the board voted down an $800 increase of their yearly salary with commissioners Gary Peterson, Robert Olean, and Bodie voting nay and Brenner and Thomas Proulx voting aye. The salary remains at $21,600 as it has been for the last six years. "As our economy continues to recover and our local taxpayers struggle to cover expenses," Commissioner Peterson observed, "I think that the members of the Board should set an example and settle for the salary established when we decided to serve on this board."
Commissioners continue to be paid $50 per meeting on the numerous assignments they each have within and outside of the county. Citizens serving on county commissions receive the same per diem. Mileage is set at $.56 per mile.
After several years of no increase, a contract was reached earlier with county employees for a 4 percent increase in steps for the 2013 and 2014 contract periods. To reflect this settlement, the county elected officials will now receive: county attorney, $103,906; county auditor/treasurer, $88,511; and the county sheriff, $91,052.
Drew Digby, coordinator for disaster relief after the 2012 flash flood, had his contract extended for another six months. Comments by board members centered on the fact that the money was covered by flood relief grant funding.
"Moose Lake's flood recovery program is basically completed," Pat Oman, Moose Lake City Administrator, commented when contacted by the newspaper. "The city administration has pushed along completing all the paperwork to receive monies owed from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and state sources. Two small projects need to be completed when the ground thaws. There is no other funding available, and the city is now focused on economic development for our area. I am excited about the new opportunities developing."