Commissioners consider making A-T job an appointed post

Looking at 10% local match for crossing projects

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners will consider a resolution Tuesday to change the auditor-treasurer (A-T) position from an elected to an appointed position.

Commissioners convened a public hearing on April 27 to consider changing the A-T position from elected to appointed. After considerable discussion, a motion to table the vote for a future meeting carried unanimously.

Current Brown County A-T Jean Prochniak is retiring June 30, 2021. State legislation in 2017 allows county boards to make the decision to move the position from elected to appointed.

A public petition could overturn a board decision in favor of resolution if 10 percent of eligible voters sign the petition within 30 days. The public can also initiate a reverse referendum to return the office back to an elected position at any time after three years.

Commissioners will also consider:

• Authorizing the purchase of 11 Motorola APX6000 700/800 MHz model portable radios with chargers, speaker Mics and ARMER programming; and one Motorola APX6500 700/800 MHz model mobile radio with accessories and ARMER programming from Alpha Wireless for 47,773.13 with transfer of 11 old Motorola XTS2500 portable radios to the Brown County Highway Dept.

• Receiving and order filing a report submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office to consider George’s Ballroom demolition. Follow-up work to be considered includes shared demolition funding, potential project grants, Request For Proposal preparation, an asbestos survey, consideration of a management company or responsible person to oversee the project.

The letter includes historical preservation options being discussed and researched:

• The “George’s Bar” marquee that towers over the building would be removed and preserved with an historical marker about the rich history of the ballroom.

• A street dance with live polka bands to commemorate the era and celebrate marquee placement.

• A website link with George’s Ballroom information including oral history, memories and experiences from musicians that entertained, people who enjoy dancing the night away, married couples who danced their first waltz on the ballroom floor and other memories.

• Committing 10 percent local share to railroad crossing safety projects. The Minnesota Department of Transportation requested local project funding participation. Up to $4,500,000 is available for fiscal year 2025. The State has been informed the federal crossing safety program will fund 90 percent of projects. The estimated cost of a railroad crossing safety project is $175,000 to $350,000.

The railroad crossing on CSAH 7 in Cobden has been identified among 16 listed eligible crossings.

• Posting the Brown County A-T position with a salary range of $91,519 to $111,856 for the search and recruitment process. Review of the position’s annual salary will be done in a compensation study by DDA (David Droun Associates) Human Resources, Inc.

Brown County A-T Jean Prochniak announced her June 30, 2021 retirement after 40 years service.

• The meeting begins at 9 a.m., May 18 in the Brown County Law Enforcement Center Training Room. For Zoom access, call Brown County Administration at 507-233-6600.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@



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