Letter: Sensibility appears possible in WabashaMany observers from both inside and outside of Wabasha County have watched with bewilderment the last two years as the three-member majority of the Wabasha County Board, Commissioners Deb Roschen, Dave Harms and Merl Norman, made Wabasha County one of the laughingstocks of the state.
By: Tom Dwelle, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Many observers from both inside and outside of Wabasha County have watched with bewilderment the last two years as the three-member majority of the Wabasha County Board, Commissioners Deb Roschen, Dave Harms and Merl Norman, made Wabasha County one of the laughingstocks of the state. During the last two years, those same commissioners spent or borrowed large sums of our money for dubious reasons.
First came the hiring of Rick Carlson, a former colleague of Roschen’s, to lead the county in “strategic planning.” No real plan was formulated and the process was scrapped after multiple concerns were raised. This resulted in nearly $9,000 wasted and embodied Chicago-style politics at its finest.
Next, the triumvirate ran out a highly qualified and experienced county administrator over the objections of a vocal and concerned citizenry — only to replace him with a coordinator with far less training and knowledge. This saddled the county with a $60,000 severance payment and created a public relations nightmare.
Roschen, Norman, and Harms then hired a Minneapolis attorney to give “counsel” that already had been provided by our elected county attorney. The outcome? Nearly $20,000 wasted on an unnecessary opinion.
Most recently, the out-going majority voted to spend yet another large sum of money — this time approximately $35,000 — on consulting services from another strategic planning company. Not surprisingly, the company is suggesting that the county return to an administrator form of government.
If Roschen, Norman, and Harms had listened to their electorate earlier, these costs could have been avoided.
Over the last two years, the triumvirate spent nearly $1.5 million from county reserves. That’s called kicking the can down the road. Those reserves won’t be there forever and the amount borrowed, if repaid in one year, would require levy increase in excess of 10 percent.
The residents of Wabasha County work hard for their money and deserve better than this.
Thankfully, it appears that the worst is behind us. Wabasha County now has common-sense leaders at the helm in Commissioners Mike Wobbe, Rich Hall and Don Springer.