January 2, 2024 at 2:07 p.m.
Cass County Board

Commissioners elect Gaalswyk as chair for 2024



By By Kyndra Johnson of the Press-Citizen | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

   Cass County commissioners elected Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk chair and Commissioner Rick Haaland as vice chair for 2024 during their first meeting of the year, Tuesday, Jan. 2.

   County Administrator Josh Stevenson presented the 2024 meeting rules of business for approval, along with a schedule for the regular meetings. The schedule remains similar to 2023 with regular meetings set to begin at 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the courthouse in Walker and at 9 a.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the land department building in Backus.

Sheriff Bryan Welk, Board Chair Neal Gaalswyk and Lieutenant Chris Johnson presented Jeremiah Fenning, Jamie Richter and Spencer Seifert with the Cass County Excellence Award and a Life Saving pin at the regular commissioner’s meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2. Photo by Josh Stevenson


   Exceptions will be during the months of May, June, July, August and September, when the commissioner’s begin their “road show” meetings. Those will be the meetings that are held the third Tuesday of the month and will begin at 6 p.m. at city and town halls throughout the county. Locations will be announced within the next month and in the county newsletter that comes with property tax statements. 

   Another exception this year will be during March, August and November due to 2024 being an election year and the county needing to utilize the board’s meeting room to conduct those elections. Also, typically the board will have another exception with the first meeting in December being held on a Thursday due to conflict with the annual Association of Minnesota Counties meeting, but during 2024 that meeting is being conducted the following week. Therefore, the commissioners scheduled the first meeting of December for Tuesday, Dec. 3 beginning at 3 p.m. at the  courthouse in Walker and will precede the annual 6 p.m. Truth in Taxation public hearing on the county’s proposed 2024 budget and levy. The second December meeting is currently scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 17 at the land department building in Backus rather than at 9 a.m. 

   The commissioners approved the 2024 committee appointments with little change in which commissioners serve on each committee. Commissioner Bob Kangas requested serving on the budget committee, with no objection from commissioner Jeff Peterson being replaced, the motion was unanimously approved. Another change made was the delegation of Brian Buhmann to serve on the Association of Minnesota Counties Health and Human Services Policy Committee as a replacement for commissioner Peterson due to him being unable to attend the annual meeting this year. All other committee appointments are posted on the Cass County website. 

   Sheriff Bryan Welk acknowledged three staff members that received Awards of Excellence for life saving measures performed. Jamie Richter, Public Health Planner, Spencer Seifert, Jailer and Jeremiah Fenning, Jailer were all on duty Oct. 5 when an inmate in the detention center was having a medical emergency. Richter responded immediately and began CPR after calling for an ambulance. Welk stated if it was not for these three employees actions the inmate would likely not have survived. 

   In other business, the county board: 

   • Approved Pine Cone Press-Citizen as having the low bid to serve as the county’s legal notice publication for most notices in 2024, with the Pilot Independent winning the bid for second publication of the financial statement.

   • Approved the reorganization of the Auditor-Treasurer Recorder Department.

   • Awarded the contract for the Solid Waste Management Plan update to Burns McDonell in the amount of $45,700 and contract increases to Waste Partners for their Recycle Bin and Transfer Station Management contracts.

   • Adopted a resolution showing support of Deep Portage Learning Center’s pursuit of legislation to establish a grant program to assist in providing all Minnesota students in grades fourth through eighth the opportunity to attend an accredited overnight outdoor school.

   • Approved the 2024 county canvassing board with commissioners Gaalswyk and Bruns serving along with the county auditor, court administrator of the district court and mayor or chair of the town board of the county’s most populous municipality.

   • Approved the 2024 county canvassing  board meetings as follows: 1 p.m. Thursday, Mar. 7; 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 and 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12.

   • Received the 2024 Cass County Election Emergency Plan and Cyber Incident detection and notification planning for filing with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

   The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16 at the Land Department meeting room in Backus; joint meeting with The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17 at Cedar Lakes Casino & Hotel, 6268 Upper Cass Frontage Rd NW, Cass Lake and commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker.


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