Wabasha County considered firing administrator but abolishes his position instead

The Wabasha County Board has been talking about firing its county administrator since August but instead last week abolished the position.

Administrator David Johnson’s last day is Jan. 1, says the Winona Daily News.

After that, department heads will be in charge, with direction from administrators, the paper said. There’s been talk of hiring a county coordinator, but no action has been taken.

Thursday’s meeting where the abolition took place on a 3-2 vote sounds messy, according to the paper’s account:

“This is dictatorship,” Commissioner Rich Hall said after the meeting. “I’m running out of ideas real quick. It’s in the peoples’ hands now.”

Commissioner Merl Norman said the meeting agenda included the resolution to abolish Johnson’s office, and that commissioners were informed in a Dec. 6 letter. The board decided to abolish Johnson’s office — rather than fire him outright — after attorneys from both sides reached a formal separation agreement Thursday morning.

Commissioner Mike Wobbe said early in the meeting he hadn’t seen the agreement and asked to read it before he voted. After some discussion, the board recessed for 15 minutes so each commissioner could read the agreement. …

“I’m speechless,” Hall said. “This is ridiculous. Everyone in the county is frightened for their jobs.”

Emotions ran high after the meeting. Some attendees shouted at commissioners.

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