Goodhue County Board Commissioner Ron Allen will undergo a bone marrow transplant in Nashville this December.
In a letter to the County Board, Allen wrote, "My doctors have informed me that I will be required to stay in, or near, the facility for 100 days to receive the proper treatment."
Due to being gone for more than three months, Allen recommended that the board approve an interim board District 1 commissioner.
At the County Board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20, Allen recommended the appointment of Scott Safe to serve in his place from Dec. 1 to April 1. Commissioners unanimously approved Safe because, according to Allen, his is an uncontroversial candidate.
Safe brings a wealth of knowledge in local government. He worked for the Goodhue County Land-use office as the building inspector for 16 years and currently holds that job in Olmsted County. He served nine years on Red Wing Advisory Planning Commission. He is a member of the Minnesota State Official Emergency Preparedness Commission and the Southeastern Minnesota Code Officials or SEMCO.
Safe was a substitution because Allen's initial choice - Richard Mallan - encountered some respiratory issues this week. Mallan's name appeared on the County Board agenda. The board approved Safe because, according to Allen, his is an uncontroversial candidacy.
Mallan served as a commissioner in the 1990s and stepped in as an interim commissioner while Allen was in Iraq from May to November 2007.
According to the documents provided to the County Board, Safe will receive the same rate of pay that Allen does, $10.91 per hour, and will serve until Allen returns which, Allen is confident, will be no later than April 1, 2019. If the appointment needs to be extended, the board may do so.
As the Republican Eagle has previously reported, Allen, who is battling leukemia, plans to be cured after the bone marrow transplant. He represents western Red Wing and Welch Township.
The community has rallied around Allen during his sickness. In September, county employees donated blood for Allen, who needed 37 blood transfusions in the summer of 2018.
At Tuesday's meeting, which will be the last meeting attended by Allen before his surgery, Commissioner Brad Anderson stated, "Commissioner Allen, there's 300-some people in this county that work under your direction, and I know that every one of them is pulling for you. ... And, it takes a lot of courage to step aside and let somebody else take the reigns. I understand that, and I applaud you."
Commissioner Paul Drotos stated there is only one word in the English language to express what he hopes for Allen, and that is "godspeed."