County officials return from leadership summit

Published 6:29 am Wednesday, January 27, 2010

While a Monday leadership summit in St. Charles brought officials from southeastern Minnesota counties together to discuss ways counties can work cooperatively, it also served as a way to show legislators how counties are already working together.

About 75 people attended Southeastern Minnesota Leadership Summit in St. Charles Monday, including about eight Mower County Officials, more than 10 area legislators, and aides for Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken.

The meeting was designed as a way for county leaders to meet and discus future ways to better serve the public. However, Commissioner David Hillier said it gave leaders an opportunity to show how counties are already working together.

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“I think that should have been an eye opener for some of the legislators to realize how much cooperation goes on already with the counties and local governments,” Commissioner David Hillier said.

Four people from southeastern Minnesota counties presented on cooperative efforts between counties. Margene Gunderson, director of Mower County Public Health presented concerning public health.

At one point in the meeting, county leaders and area legislators were separated into groups for discussions. Near the end of the meeting, legislators were asked to share what they learned.

Rep. Jeanne Poppe spoke about the lack of trust between elected officials in the state and county. She stressed that there needs to be trust between bodies of government. She also said the group she met with said that legislators need to analyze bills and rules to see if they’re being applied as originally intended.