Three new faces fill County Board seats

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

At the new year’s first meeting of the five-member Morrison County Board, there will be three new faces.

Voters in Tuesday’s elections unseated Commissioners Jeff Schilling and Rich Collins and chose a replacement for retiring Commissioner Tom Wenzel.

Jeffrey Jelinski, currently Morrison County’s communications director, was elected to fill the District 2 seat currently occupied by Schilling.

“It was a very humbling and rewarding experience to be able to knock on as many doors as I did,” Jelinski said. “I never did a campaign before, but I’m very pleased with the positive and absolutely professional way this campaign went. I want to be an asset to the County Board, and to have open communication with the board members and with all residents of Morrison County.”

Bellevue Township Supervisor Randy Winscher was successful in his bid to win the seat currently filled by District 3 Commissioner Collins.

“This is humbling. Meeting all the people and getting their ideas was fun,” Winscher said. “Most taxpayers want someone who will spend their money wisely. I want to thank the residents of District 3 and my family for their help and support.”

Licensed alcohol and drug counselor Kevin Maurer came out ahead in the race between him and Sharon Ballou for the District 1 seat being vacated by Wenzel. Maurer has run for commissioner five times previously, and for treasurer once.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Maurer. “Now the work starts, and there is a lot of learning to do. I’ve always run with the desire to get in and make a change. One thing we should do is to take a proactive role with the Legislature regarding the unfunded mandates that come to the county.”

“People want to know that commissioners are on their side and working for them, and to not be confronted with abusive language and intimidation,” he said.

“We will be working to familiarize the newly-elected commissioners with the various aspects of county business during the coming months,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber. “We will be encouraging attendance at the Association of Minnesota Counties training for new commissioners and other in-house meetings.”

“I thoroughly appreciate those who are willing to run for office and serve; it isn’t an easy thing to do. Morrison County is in good financial condition due to the actions of the current and prior boards. I have no doubt we will continue on that path with the help of the newly elected commissioners,” Gruber said.