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Vote to combine offices postponed by county commissioners

By Staff | Oct 13, 2008

The Faribault County Board passed a resolution to have the county auditor fill in as county treasurer, but postponed a vote to make it a permanent change.

Last month County Treasurer David Frank submitted his resignation due to retirement.

On Tuesday the board appointed John Thompson, county auditor, to fill out Frank’s unexpired term, starting in December.

The board looked at another proposed resolution which would permanently combine the two offices.

Former commissioner Loren Lein addressed the board with a question. He asked if they were going to inform the public of the intent to combine auditor and treasurer before actually passing the resolution.

Some commissioners agreed. Commissioner Bill Groskreutz suggested a press release be sent to area media.

Commissioner Tom Warmka felt it was important to let the public know the move was not being done just to save money.

“In fact it probably won’t save a lot,” Warmka says. “We also need to make it clear our thought was not to take away people’s right to vote for a county office.”

The combined office of auditor/treasurer would still be elected.

“We don’t want the appearance of rushing into this,” Thompson added.

Central Services Director Brenda Ripley, who presented the two resolutions to the board, said the public does have recourse if they want to fight combining the two offices.

“If citizens do not agree with the decision, they can call for a referendum vote,” Ripley says. “If 10 percent of the voters sign a petition calling for a referendum, the question will be on the next ballot.”

That has to be done within 30 days after the resolution is passed, she says.

Commissioners decided to delay a decision on the permanent change until their November meeting.