County board considers stronger assembly ordinance
The Carlton County Board of Commissioners is considering strengthening the assembly ordinance for gatherings of more than 300 people. This puts teeth in an ordinance that has been on the books for decades but never enforced.
A $500 fee will be asked. Events such as reunions, community-sponsored gatherings, graduation parties and weddings will be exempt, it is proposed. The county will have the power to waive any fee but a permit application is required.
County Auditor Paul Gassert commented, "This is only the start of the conversation. We need input from the citizens." A hearing is proposed for July 8 and a notice will be in the local paper. The county only licenses liquor and fireworks at this time.
Jim Newman, Carlton County township officers representative to the county board meetings, observed, shaking his head, "I don't think you are going to get $500 out of Skelton Township (no matter) how hard you try."
The county board is considering making the county coroner position appointed rather than elected after the retirement of Dr. Rickart Puumala. Other counties have moved toward a medical examiner who is appointed periodically for sometime. This paves the way for that possibility in Carlton County. The board seeks public input on this possible move.
Dennis Genereau, Carlton County coordinator, reported there are three good finalists for the Human Resources director position. Months of planning, starting with setting the current county budget, has gone on to establish a strong Human Resources department. This move weaves into a general discussion of how to improve efficient county services and reward county employees for their good work.
Genereau explained, "Carlton County had an incentive program in the 1970s in which a percentage raise was assigned to each department and the department head determined who got pay increases. Now the system is flat pay increases."
Commissioner Gary Peterson responded, "How do you measure? What if there is a personality issue between supervisors and employees?"
Mike Tardy, highway engineer, continued, "I think it is then very important to get the right people in the door at the beginning of employment. It is hard to measure government services and their delivery in comparison to the private sector. The government at all levels has a much bigger job."
Genereau went on to say, "We don't have employees that work as hard as other employees. The county attorney's office policy, for example, is that salary levels for employees are not advanced unless earned."
The county board has not taken a position on this issue at this time.