A very brief recap of the past and an equally brief rundown of goals for the future is how Chairperson Christine Husom opened a fittingly brief meeting of the Board of Wright County Commissioners on Tuesday morning.
Reminding fellow commissioners that the last time she led the board, she shared her goals with them, Husom stated, “In 2020, I want to continue to be visionary.”
Husom said some past goals have been implemented, including implementation of advisory board updates and regular workshops outside of routine board meetings.
“We’ve made a lot of decisions, some really tough decisions that have moved the county forward, to increase efficiency, to deliver better customer service,” she said. “In 2020, I want to continue to move the county forward.”
Examples, she said, include doing some strategic planning with cities and townships within the county, better budget forecasting, and working to keep tax rates more level “so we don’t have the fluctuations that we’ve had in the past that have been difficult to deal with.”
She also pointed to the justice center project and the tactical training center project, both of which are under construction and will be completed this summer.
“If we continue to work as hard as we’ve been working together these last years, it’s going to be a good year,” she concluded. “I’m excited about it being 2020, even though it took until February to mention that. The weeks have gone really fast. Thank you everyone, and we’ll keep moving forward.”
Husom was appointed board chairperson at the first meeting of the new year. Although the annual selection of a new chairperson is up to a vote by fellow boardmembers, it has been customary in Wright County for members to take turns at the position. Other than the power of the gavel, a chairperson carries no more voting power than the other four boardmembers. Her seat was occupied in 2019 by Commissioner Darek Vetsch.
Her country address took only the first two minutes of an equally brief meeting that wrapped up a half hour later, at least in part because nearly all agenda items were on the consent agenda and were approved unanimously and without discussion.
A couple of key consent agenda items were to approve labor contracts with two of the county’s employee union bargaining units. Commissioners approved the collective bargaining settlement with the Assistant County Attorney’s Association, a group made up of nearly 30 employees, and also with Teamsters Local 320, the Sheriff’s Department Essential Supervisors Collective, which has about 9 members.
Both are three-year contracts, beginning with the start of this year and ending at the close of the year 2022. Each agreement gives employees a 1.5 percent general pay hike as of Jan. 1, 2020, to be followed by a 2.25 percent raise in 2021 and a 2.5 percent pay increase in 2020.
This settles two of the county’s seven union employee bargaining groups, with negotiations continuing with the other five units.
Also approved on the consent agenda was an memorandum of agreement with Teamsters Local 320 governing off-duty law enforcement work through 2022.