During the first Goodhue County Board meeting of the year, the board discussed multiple items relating to law enforcement in the county. 

The commissioners approved a one year contract rather than a three-year contract for the Zumbrota-Mazeppa School District law enforcement resource officer. 

One board members argued the discounted rates were not fair to taxpayers where the school only pays 60% of the officer’s cost.

Sheriff Marty Kelly was present to speak and answer questions about the contract with Zumbrota-Mazeppa for their school resource officer. 

Commissioners were overall in favor of keeping resource officers in schools across the county. The concern came from the funding aspect of the program. 

“We see the cost that the deputy costs us, and my concern or question is why are we giving the school district of Zumbrota-Mazeppa a deal at 60%. If it is costing us $55 an hour, it should be paying $55 an hour,” county Commissioner Jason Majerus said. 

“It should be the same throughout the systems as our other contracts, we aren’t giving any benefit to any other districts,” he continued. 

The county pays for 40% of the deputy’s pay through the contract for a resource officer in the Zumbrota-Mazeppa school district. 

Some of the board members wanted more information about the way the contract works. County Commissioner Susan Betcher suggested that the board look at policies in other counties and cities.

The board discussed making this a one-year contract and then renegotiating when there is more information available. 

“I’ve been a proponent of this for a long time, and I wish we had a sheriff's officer in every school district. This is a proactive approach and if we are going to change anything it has to be that way. I’ve always been supportive of RSOs, and I’m disappointed it didn’t work out to keep one in Kenyon-Wanamingo,” county Commissioner Brad Anderson said. 

The board voted to approve the one-year contract with a 4-1 vote with Majerus voting against the motion.

Mental health

Kelly presented a new program that will be implemented at the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Department this year. 

Mental health and wellness services will be available to deputies in the sheriff’s office through True North. 

The board voted unanimously to approve the program for a cost of $50,000.

The program will provide a mandatory mental health check for every officer once the program begins. This will help determine which officers may benefit from further mental health services. 

“This has been in the works for quite a while, we are just trying to get our staff mental health support. We have implemented a peer support program and we are doing what we can,” Kelly said. “Last year we decided to reach out to a therapist who provides specific services to law enforcement.”

The board was in favor of having a program that focuses on the mental health of officers in the county. 

“I’m very happy to see this go forward and I like the idea that you are suggesting mandatory mental health checks so that everybody goes,” Commissioner Linda Flanders said. “Also the importance of incident debriefings afterward, that has proven to be priceless so I’m very happy for that.” 

Oath of Office

Recently elected, county commissioners, the county attorney and Goodhue County sheriff were officially sworn into office this week. 

County Commissioners Jason Majerus from the 4th District and Brad Anderson from the 2nd District took their oath of office. Both received a majority of votes in the primary election in August. 

County Attorney Stephen O’Keefe took his oath of office, O’Keefe ran for a second term this year and won in November. 

Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly was re-elected in November and took his oath of office for his next term. 

After each elected official was sworn into office, the county board nominated and voted on the 2023 chair and vice chair. 

The board voted unanimously to appoint county Commissioner Linda Flanders as the 2023 chair and Commissioner Todd Greseth as vice chair. 

“I just wanted to say, I believe Linda Flanders is the first woman chair for the Goodhue County Board of Commissioners and congratulations for that,” County Commissioner Susan Betcher said. 

Quick Hits

  • Awarded the 2023 official publication bid to the Republican Eagle newspaper. 

  • Set 2023 county board meeting dates.

  • Board approved tuition reimbursement for T. Larson, spring 2023. 

  • Board approved tuition reimbursement for J. Skeen, fall 2022.

  • Board approved tuition reimbursement for S. Wilson spring 2023.

  • Board approved date for 2023 Board of Appeal and Equalization.

  • Board approved the K9 separation agreement for Canine Gamble, the canine officially retires Jan. 5 2023.

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