Weik: No Need To Add Commissioners To County Board
Following redistricting, the Washington County Board has considered adding two members.
“I don’t really see the need,” said Commissioner Lisa Weik, who represents much of Woodbury. “I don’t feel like I can’t handle the workload.”
But the real question, she said, is how the county would pay for the new positions: “That’s got to be part of the discussion.”
County commissioners make just over $52,000 a year, plus benefits and travel expenses.
“How are you going to pay for that?” Weik told Patch. “Where will this new money come from?”
None of the commissioners advocated for adding two board members during a workshop Tuesday, according to a Pioneer Press report.
Weik noted that commissioners in larger counties—Hennepin and Ramsey, for example—represent many more people than Washington County commissioners would even if the board did decide to add two new members.
Part of the concern is that Woodbury—the 10th largest city in Minnesota—could be represented by three commissioners once the lines are redrawn.
If that were the case, it could create a situation in which “Woodbury’s wants and needs float to the top,” Weik said.
A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for the board's 9 a.m. March 13 meeting at the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater.
“We want this to be transparent,” Weik said. “This is a big deal for Washington County.”
One aim of the new boundaries is to keep the districts as compact as possible while also keeping the number of citizens they represent as similar as possible, Weik said. But with Woodbury's population size, it might necessitate having more board members represent the city.
“That goes back to adding two commissioners,” Weik said.
With all five board members likely up for re-election this fall, Weik said it might make sense to create an independent body—made up of judges or retired board members—to draw the new lines as an effort to avoid a conflict of interest.
“I would be willing to do that if there’s a disagreement,” she said.
The board must adopt a redistricting map of new commissioner districts by April 20, according to a county press release.
The issue was previously raised last May.