County commissioners approve elected officials’ 2013 salaries

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer


In three unanimous votes Tuesday, the Morrison County Commissioners approved salaries for County Attorney Brian Middendorf, County Auditor/Treasurer Russ Nygren and incoming County Recorder Eileen Holtberg.

Middendorf, who did not receive any increase in 2012, will receive $102,987.60. “We commend him for the job he’s doing,” said Commissioner Tom Wenzel.

Nygren, who never received a raise for assuming the treasurer duties three years ago, will receive $87,942.20.

Holtberg, who will be assuming the county recorder position effective Jan. 1, 2013, to fill the remainder of Bunny Johnston’s term, will receive $57,137.60. This salary reflects her years of service in the recorder’s office.

The vote for County Sheriff Michel Wetzel’s salary passed with three affirmative and two against. Voting in favor of the resolution were Commissioners Jeff Schilling, Rich Collins and Wenzel.

“He’s doing an excellent job,” said Wenzel.

“I feel this would be okay,” said Collins. “It’s not out of line.”

“The attorney said last year that if we’re going to deny a raise, we need to build a case,” Schilling said. “We do not have a case to deny it.”

Voting against the resolution were Commissioners Duane Johnson and Don Meyer.

“The sheriff got a raise last year; I don’t support a raise for the sheriff,” said Johnson.

“County employees got nothing the last three years,” said Meyer. “They should get a bite of the apple this time, and not the sheriff.”


Other business that came before the Morrison County Commissioners Tuesday included:

• Approving the 2013 contract with Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program Inc. for $218,553, a reduction of $6,500 from 2012;

• Approving a 2012 tobacco license for a business opening under a new name, Western Liquor owned by Robert Boyd in Cushing;

• Hearing an Extension report regarding cooking classes at area elementary schools;

• Approving the purchase of Unitrends electronic backup and recovery system. “This replaces multiple systems that were each obsolete and/or inadequate,” said Technology Services Director Mike Disher. Half of the funding comes from the technology services reserve fund and half from the county recorder compliance fund;

• Listening to a report from Central Minnesota Community Corrections, covering Aitkin, Crow Wing and Morrison counties. They are currently supervising 912 people, 692 on active adult supervision;

• Approving three exempt permits for raffles for Minnesota County Wild Gobblers Chapter for Feb. 1, 2013 at the Falls Ballroom; Mary of Lourdes School for Feb. 8, 2013 at the Falls Ballroom and the Royalton Sportsmen’s Club for June 8, 2013 at the club grounds in Royalton;

• Approving the receipt of a natural resources block grant from the Board of Water and Soil Resources atr $139,511;

• Approving the final county levy for 2013 at $17.536 million, a 1.95 percent increase;

• Approving the final 2013 county budget at $37.795 million;

• Approving the 2013 Morrison County fee schedule;

• Approving the 2013 levy for the Morrison County Housing and Redevelopment Authority for $30,000, with no change from 2012;

• Approving the new county meals and travel reimbursement policy, as recommended in the annual audit;

• Approving the change of mileage rate to 56.5 cents per mile, matching the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rate, effective Jan. 1, 2013;

• Approving the agreement between the University of Minnesota and Morrison County for extension programs to be provided locally;

• Appointing Chuck Forss to the Morrison County Board of Adjustments representing District One, effective Jan. 1, 2013;

• Reappointing Charles Storkamp and Mark Fyten to the Rich Prairie Sewer and Water District for two-year-terms; and

• Approving a tentative labor agreement with the Social Services Department for 2013, 2014 and 2015. After a three-year contract with no cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), the COLAs will be 1.75 percent for 2013, 2 percent for both 2014 and 2015.

The next County Board meeting will be Monday, Dec. 31 at 9 a.m. in the board room at the County Government Center.