Question of the Week: Has the change to a County Administrator form of government been an improvement for Itasca County?


Thinking CapMinnesota statute 375A.01, subd 1 allows counties to adopt one or more optional forms of government.  Any of the options may be adopted or abandoned by following the procedures set forth in sections 375A.01 to 375A.13.  Minnesota Statute 375.01, subd 2 defines 5 optional forms of county government, one of which is a County Administrator.

Prior to the change to a County Administrator form of government, the county operated with a County Coordinator form of government.  The difference between a Coordinator and Administrator form of county government is the level of authority retained by the County Board.   With a Coordinator form, the Board retains both legislative and administrative authority.  With an Administrator form, the County Board transfers most of its  administrative power and responsibility to the Administrator with the exception of elected officials, County Attorney, Sheriff, Auditor and Treasurer.

GRV asks for your comments and opinions. Has the change to an Administrator form of government been an improvement for Itasca County?

8 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Has the change to a County Administrator form of government been an improvement for Itasca County?

  1. An administrator has a hefty responsibility and the role inevitably leads (as it did) to micro-managing; the law requires the administrator to be a control freak because the administrator is solely responsible. The former organization of hiring a Coordinator was, and is, the best way for the Board to keep abreast of how they are functioning, and retains the democratic processes that citizens–and employees–deserve.

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    1. educator

      Jeanne, I believe you are speaking from your feelings here and it is causing you to wonder far from the Minnesota Statute. Please go back and read Mn.Statute 375A.01, listed above by the way. There are five forms of county organization listed in Statute and Coordinator is not one of them. Coordinator is most likely and invention of convenience by the Association of Minnesota Counties to retain control for their sponsoring vendors like bonding companies, engineering firms and law firms looking to be recommended by the AMC to counties for business purposes. The Administrator is of course appointed to handle administrative duties only, while the County Board is then assigned to legislative responsibilities only, voting on county ordinances. The problem with an administrator is most are just rejects from a previous governmental body or some other counties problem moving on. There is also, if you read 375.01, other forms that deserve consideration, like an elected executive. In this form of county organization they can also be held accountable by un-electing them every four years. The people must by ballot vote on this form of government to make the change and then elect a county executive. The executive can not make law but holds veto powers much like the President or Governor. This system works all over the country in every State, so why not here? Please go read Statute 375A.01 and come back and join the conversation.Thank you for your comments and welcome aboard!
      Normally I try to not comment here and leave it open to public input but this topic is complex so please people, continue to express your thoughts.

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  2. Joe

    B as B S as in S, it appears all these administrators come out of the League of MN Cities or the Association oh MN Counties, both no more than lobbyist for sponsoring vendors like SEH engineering and Springsted bonding. Look at the Leagues site they advertise to sponsor vendors for money. Wake up your being sold out!

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  3. Mary

    The county needs appropriate leadership. The Board should focus on the big picture, not everyday operations. An Administrator is the way to go. The right person in that role is the key. They need someone to be on-site to keep all the departments focused and accountable.

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  4. Jimmyj

    It hasn’t worked , county budget out of control , Hugh Quin deal, county employees upset about wage adjustment proposals , dept heads getting raises and lower end jobs losing money , over taxing Blandin paper and losing lawsuit , what else can we add to the list

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  5. Heather

    Obviously Not!
    Seems like it was simply an easy way for our elected Commissioners to quit doing part of their jobs that we voted them in for.
    It gives an unelected person too much power.
    Plus they gave themselves all raises after having an administrator.
    No improvement, rather proof to me that we NEED to vote in New county commissioners!

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