Voters support keeping auditor job elective

The Le Sueur County Board held a public hearing Tuesday evening, Oct. 22, the subject in question being whether or not the auditor-treasurer position should be appointive rather than elective. The hearing was held at the courthouse in the evening to make it more accessible for residents of the county who may be interested.
More than 25 people attended the hearing.
Testimony from the public indicated support for the office remaining elective, with nine of 11 people expressing their confidence in the voters making the decision on who should serve in the position.
Joe Boettcher said it is the right of the voters to choose, that it’s not the right time to change, and voters are informed.
Harry Dalton said the position should remain elective and that there is no urgency in changing it.
Mary Jo Stocker and Jeanette Korbel both concurred with Dalton and said it should remain an elective position.
Cliff Wetzel said he was opposed to it being appointive because, “it takes power away from the people.”
Current Le Sueur County Auditor-Treasurer Pam Simonette earlier indicated her preference that the position be appointive rather than elective. Since there are no requirements for the job, she had said someone unqualified could be elected.
Several department heads in Le Sueur County are appointed rather than elected. The jobs that remain as elected positions, including county sheriff and county attorney, have requirements for candidates, whereas the auditor-treasurer does not. Therefore, there are no requirements for someone to run for the position that handles county finances.
Several other counties in Minnesota, including Blue Earth and Nicollet, have gone to the appointment process. If Le Sueur County wants to make the change, it would require a special election or going to the legislature for approval.
County Administrator-Engineer Darrell Pettis said the commissioners would likely discuss the issue at a future meeting.
In other actions, the county board:
• Held a brief regular meeting following the public hearing and approved a detour agreement with MnDOT for Trunk Highway 99 at the bridge in St. Peter. Pettis said the bridge will be rehabbed next summer, with traffic detoured to County Road 21  (golf course road) for approximately four months.
The board also approved an agreement for professional services with Bolton & Menk for design services related to construction of the intersection at TH 169 and CSAH 28, and realignment of CSAH 28.