Wabasha County commissioners misled public, study says

Three Wabasha County commissioners weren’t upfront with the public when they eliminated the county administrator form of government last year, says a commission study.

They really just wanted to get rid of the administrator then on staff, Dave Johnson, says the Wabasha County Government Study Commission.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin says the commission’s report goes after three commissioners, Dave Harms, Deb Roschen and Merl Norman:

The publicly stated motive for changing form of government was to save money, but the commission found that “Wabasha County is in good financial shape; its finances have been managed conservatively and the County has adequate reserves.”

It believes saving money wasn’t the primary reason for abolishing the administrator form.

The story says the commission determined that the real reason was to get rid of Johnson.

“The commission found considerable evidence to support its conclusion that the administrator form was abolished primarily as a means of terminating the employment of the then-incumbent administrator, whose publicly stated views did not always agree with the philosophical and ideological views of majority board members Roschen, Norman and Harms.”

The commission also said that the three elected officials refused to cooperate in the study.

Roschen responded: “The commission has based their conclusion on opinions from surveys and interviews? Opinions are not facts. Since the department head interviews, staff is now expressing grave concerns over the questions the (commission) asked them.”

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