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Majority of counties have made changes in electing or appointing statutory officials

More than 75 percent of Minnesota counties have implemented one change or more in their statutory offices, according to a report from the Minnesota House Research Department.

Those changes include appointing, rather than electing, the officials and combining offices.

The most common change is appointing the county recorder and combining the offices of auditor and treasurer.

There are currently 27 counties that have appointed recorders; 13 that have appointed combination auditor/treasurer positions; seven with appointed auditors and six with appointed treasurers.

Even though a majority of counties have taken action to have a combined auditor/treasurer office, most of those office-holders are still elected.

Beau Berentson, General Government Policy Analyst for the Association of Minnesota Counties, said the counties that currently appoint their auditors, treasurers and recorders represent 72 percent of the state’s population.

Berentson said even though a minority of counties currently appoint those positions, they are the larger counties with greater populations.

There are currently five counties seeking special legislation that would allow them to pursue appointing one or more of those offices.

If they are approved, Berentson said that 75 percent of the state’s population would then live in counties with appointed statutory offices.

He said counties are making the change to remove departmental silos and to improve “internal efficiency.”

Berentson said the Association of Minnesota Counties supports proposed legislation that would eliminate the need for counties to seek special legislation for appointing officials.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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