Fifth District Commissioner Gary Peterson was chosen as the new chairperson of the Carlton County Board of Commissioners at the annual re-organizational meeting Jan 4. Commissioner Mark Thell of the 4th District became the vice-Chairperson of the County Board and Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings for the year 2022.

  For a number of years, leadership roles for the Board and the COW have been rotated as each of the Board members take their turn. Regular Board meetings will continue to be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. with the Adjourned Sessions held on the fourth Monday of each month at 4:00 p.m. 

Regular and Adjourned Board meetings will be held either at the Transportation Building or the Carlton County Community Service Building.

COW meetings will be held the first Tuesday at 4 p.m. with the first COW held Feb 1 at the Transportation Building. The COW Jail/Justice Center Study Group will meet at the Carlton County Government Services Building in Cloquet the third Monday of the month at 2 p.m. and the first meeting of the year starts March 21.

  Of note, Non-Commissioner appointments to the Committee of the Whole for 2022 will be all Department Heads, Transportation issues Rick Norrgard, and Dan Reed as representative of the Carlton County Association of Township Officers.

  Standing Committees and Commissions assignments changed very little. Commissioner Proulx listed the new Carlton County Drug Prevention Committee and volunteered to serve on it with Bodie as an alternate. The CARES Act Committee was expanded to include new ARPA duties. Enbridge Pipeline representatives are Commissioners Thell and Peterson.

  The Kettle River watershed has been added to the One Watershed One Plan Policy Committee with Commissioner Bodie representing St. Louis River, Thell Nemadji River and Peterson Kettle River watersheds. Commissioner Peterson reported that the Wolf Management Committee will probably be disbanded this spring.

In other County business:

At the December 28, 2021 Adjourned Session the County Board set the salaries of the elected officials with the County Attorney at $134,005 and the Sheriff at $126,784 for the budget year 2022. This year is an election year and by statute any candidate for those offices must know what the minimum salary is for those offices. The Sheriff and the County Attorney have previously agreed to a rating of their paid salary as is reflected in the job description that will be created for that particular position soon. The minimum salary for those two offices was set by Board action at approximately $114,442.

In response to President Biden’s mandate that all employees of organizations having more than 100 people working will have to be vaccinated or test negative weekly. To draw up a policy on COVID-19 vaccination/testing, County Coordinator Dennis Genereau said that it would cost no more than $3500. There are about 50 staff employed with Carlton County that have not been vaccinated. A testing procedure from a third party weekly would be needed for the non-vaccinated to continue to work for Carlton County.

Particulars of this policy are complex and yet to be specifically determined. Employees are responsible for testing and the costs of the test, but the County will provide some paid time to go to get tested. The OSHA standards will be implemented on January 10th but there is a case in the US Supreme Court to overturn the standard.

The Carlton County Transportation Department has put out a public announcement in which plowing snow into public road right of ways is a crime. Snow left by plowing on a roadway from private property is considered a hazard to traffic. Snow piled in a road right of way such as the ditch which will cause drifting on the roadway is considered illegal. Accidents caused by snowplowing and affecting road traffic will cause a civil liability to the snow plow operator and/or the private property owner.

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