Bill that would change status of recorder position moves forward

Published 6:43 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

A bill to change the status of Mower County’s recorder position has passed in committees and moved on to the Minnesota House and Senate floors, but county officials aren’t certain the county will have time to implement the change if the bill passes.

The bill would allow the county — after receiving public input — to change the recorder position from elected to appointed.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners had scheduled an informational session for the public at 11 a.m. during the regular county board meeting Tuesday, but no citizens attended to discuss the issue.

Mower County Coordinator Oscarson said it appears likely the bill will pass. The change is not unique, as Oscarson said more than half the counties in Minnesota have made similar changes.

If Recorder Sue Davis decides to retire at the end of the year, the bill would give the county the option to appoint a recorder. The county recorder is currently elected. Oscarson said the bill would change the status of the position and give the board more control over who serves.

While it appears likely the bill will pass, Oscarson said the bigger question is whether or not the board will be able to make the change before candidates file for public office. Candidates now file affidavits of candidacy in mid-May instead of August.

“We’re hoping to have everything done before filing, but it’s going to be tight,” Oscarson said.

Sen. Dan Sparks and Rep. Jeanne Poppe both introduced the bill on behalf of the county to the House and Senate. While the bill passed in committees and will next be voted on in the general House and Senate floors, there is no timetable on when the bill could approved and passed on for Gov. Tim Pawlenty to sign.

If the bill passes, the county must then publish the potential change and hold a public hearing. The board must also allow 30 days for the public to file a petition opposing the move.