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Kandiyohi County can now pursue appointing key officials

WILLMAR –– Now it’s up to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners, or possibly the voters in the county.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday in a news release that he signed legislation that allows Kandiyohi County to pursue the option to appoint, rather than elect, the county auditor/treasurer and recorder.

The bill also allows Jackson, Lake, Clay, and Lyon counties to make appointments.

This bill passed the House 85-42 and the Senate 42-21.

The Kandiyohi County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday to take testimony on the merits of appointing people to the offices or maintaining the current election process.

The board will vote that day on whether or not to adopt a resolution to proceed with the appointment process.

Four of the county’s five commissioners have to vote yes in order for it to be approved.

If the resolution is approved, residents then have 60 days to file a petition requesting a referendum to take the issue to voters.

The commissioners have been discussing the appointment option for the last two years, when former auditor Sam Modderman retired mid-way through his four-year term. Mark Thompson was appointed to fill Modderman’s unexpired term. If the appointment process is approved, it’s expected that Thompson and current County Recorder Julie Kalkbrenner would be appointed to the positions.

If the election process is kept, then Thompson and Kalkbrenner would have to run for election this fall. Candidates can file to run for office starting May 20.