WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to eliminate the election of the county surveyor and instead make it an appointed position.
In a unanimous vote of approval stating their "declaration of intentions," the commissioners agreed that the county's existing surveyor, Duane Bonnema, be appointed to the position in January after his elected term ends.
Under state law, the maximum term length for an appointed surveyor is four years.
Bonnema was elected as surveyor in 2002 and 2006.
The commissioners have praised Bonnema's performance on the job and his ability to incorporate new technology into the system.
In a previous discussion the commissioners said appointing someone to that job guarantees that an individual with skills, and not someone who's just popular with voters, fills the position.
After Kandiyohi County makes the change, there will be just four counties in Minnesota that will still elect the county surveyor.
County Administrator Larry Kleindl said nothing will change in how Bonnema does the job, how he's paid or how the budget for the department is handled.
The only difference is that he'll be appointed by the commissioners instead of elected by county residents. Kleindl said he will present a salary agreement to the board for Bonnema's contract in July.
Commissioner Dennis Peterson said the idea of appointing the surveyor was "tossed around ever since I was elected 17 years ago. We probably should've done it before."