RED WING — For the Goodhue County Board, the new year began with the swearing-in of members and the election of chair and vice chair.
Todd Greseth, District 3, was sworn-in for his first term after winning the seat formerly held by Commissioner Barney Nesseth, who decided not to seek reelection after one term.
Commissioner Linda Flanders, District 1, begins her first full term after winning a special election in November 2019 to serve the remaining portion of Commissioner Ron Allen’s term after his death in April 2019.
Paul Drotos begins his second term representing District 5.
The chair and vice chair positions usually rotate through the five districts to ensure that every district is represented equally. In 2020, Nesseth had served as vice chair and was thus expected to step in as chair in 2021. With Nesseth’s decision to step down, the chair would have likely passed to Jason Majerus. This would ensure that Greseth would not have to lead the board during his first year in elected office.
After County Administrator Scott Arneson called for chair nominations, Majerus told his fellow commissioners, “knowing the normal rotation it probably would have reverted back to me, but because of the distance meetings and the Zoom meetings, work schedule it’s very challenging for me to be able to take over the chair position if it would have come to me.”
Majerus then nominated Brad Anderson, who was elected unanimously. The commissioner last served as chair in 2019.
Linda Flanders nominated Majerus for vice chair and he also was elected unanimously.
Before the commissioners moved on to discuss items on the first agenda of 2021, Drotos said a few words about his time serving as chair in a year of COVID-19 and other challenges.
“In retrospect, my greatest qualifications for the job was probably that when I was a kid I liked roller coaster rides. There have been plenty of them this year," he said.
Drotos later added: “I must say that while my first three years on the board saw some contention, the advent of the pandemic caused us all to focus mightily on the job at hand, which was to protect and insulate our citizens from the negative effects of COVID-19. Many moments of silence were spent in respect for the people who have been lost and also for those that have stood up to this menace. I would like to thank all the commissioners for their support.”
Red Wing City Council
Former Council President Dean Hove explained on Tuesday that because of COVID-19, the newly elected council members and Mayor Mike Wilson were sworn-in before the virtual meeting.
Kim Beise, Ward 1, and Evan Brown, Wards 3&4, returned to the council and were joined by Andy Klitzke, who defeated incumbent John Becker to represent Ward 2.
After the recognition of members and outgoing remarks by Becker and former Mayor Sean Dowse, the City Council voted on its leadership team for 2021.
Hove told his fellow council members, “It’s been a rewarding two terms as council president. I enjoyed working with the rest of the council leadership team — Mayor Sean Dowse, Council Vice President Evan Brown, and President Pro Tem Becky Norton. But I hope another member will step forward this year and bring their own unique perspective to the job of council president in 2021.”
Hove then nominated Brown for president but Brown stated, “As much as I am honored, this is not the right time for me to be council president. There are issues in my family life that I think need attention.”
Council member Erin Buss nominated Norton for president. The council unanimously voted for Norton.
Buss told the Republican Eagle: “I nominated Becky for council president because I believe her to be a thoughtful and engaged leader. She faces challenges head on, doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations and encourages everyone to share their point of view. I am confident her leadership will be a benefit to our community as we move into the new year.”
Norton joined the City Council in August 2018 when she won a special election to finish the final months of Dan Munson’s term after he stepped down. Norton was elected to her first full term in November of the same year.
Hove was elected vice president and Brown was elected president pro tem.