homepage logo


Commissioners correct to wait

By Staff | Apr 26, 2011

Sometimes you just have to wonder.

Although it took an awful lot of time at the Faribault County Commissioners meeting last Tuesday, eventually the board reached a proper decision as far as the question of what to do about the jail meals bid was concerned.

That decision was to do nothing.

At least, to do nothing until they had properly examined all of the implications, whereases, wheretos and whatevers.

They even decided to have their county attorney study the contacts and bids to see what, if anything could be – or should be – done.


Before diving in and trying to make a quick decision based on their own gut feelings, emotions or personal beliefs, it is a very good idea to find out if they can actually pass such a motion as was first proposed.

The County Board, and other governmental bodies need to do more of that.

Avoid the quick, knee-jerk reaction. Study the issue, not just discuss it. Bring in an expert to learn what the subject is really about.

This is not the first time the county commissioners have made the decision to wait.

They were spending several meetings discussing the proposed pipeline from Fairmont to the Blue Earth River. It would dump a half million gallons of water a day from the ethanol plant in Fairmont into the river.

The commissioners were upset and ready to pass a resolution, create a no dumping ordinance or anything else in order to block the plan.

In other words, a quick reaction, right or wrong.

Instead, they decided on a moratorium so the issue could be studied at length, with their own Planning and Zoning Commission looking into what should be done about the matter.

Some elected officials think they know everything and are ready to express an opinion like it is gospel.

Later they find out they were wrong, and a decision has to be reversed.

While at Tuesday’s Faribault County Board meeting it took some lengthy discussion – and a total of four attempted motions – eventually the right decision was made, at least for now.

Commissioner Tom Loveall made a remark near the end of the long debate that he didn’t want the jail meal issue to “become another jail water softener” fiasco.

I have news for him; it almost did. It still might.

We jokingly referred to the softener debacle as “watergate.” I am sure a name for this issue will crop up shortly.

‘Former’ frequent Register letter to the editor writer Mike Enger is at this moment probably struggling mightily with holding true to his New Year’s Resolution to not write letters about the County Board anymore.

I would guess he has already created a name for the jail meals bid ordeal (“food fight?”).

I blame it on the weather.

After all, who can think clearly when it is almost the end of April and it is cold, cloudy and snowy.

Even while Commissioner Tom Warmka was mentioning at Tuesday’s meeting that area farmers are beginning to get antsy to get started in the fields, it was snowing like crazy outside the large windows in the commissioners’ meeting room.

It was April 19. Winter should be over.

One should not have to be bundled up wearing parkas, mittens and blankets to run a garage sale or attend a Buccaneer baseball game. Or wear a winter coat to the commissioners’ April meeting.

It has been a long, hard winter. That can dull the thinking and make everyone a little cranky.

Perhaps when some sunshine and warmth arrives, everyone will function at a higher, smarter and more civil level.

Perhaps at the next County Board meeting there will be sunshine and green leaves outside the commissioner’s windows instead of snow, and the board will make the wise and correct decision of what to do about the “real meal deal.”

Even if that decision is to continue to do nothing at all.