County Board snubs Grosso

Red Wing Republican Eagle

Goodhue County commissioners owe a public explanation for why Roseanne Grosso of Red Wing was bypassed for the No. 2 leadership post at the boardís reorganizational meeting this week. Their collective silence at the meeting spoke volumes.

For the record, we donít much care for the County Boardís rotation of board leadership. Itís been the practice that each commissioner gets his or her turn in leadership, thereby ensuring that each respective constituency has the ear of the chairman. Commissioners usually get named as vice chairman with the expectation that the chairmanship follows.

The protocol really doesnít take into consideration the factors that should go into selecting a chairman. Does the person have a vision for the board? Can the person effectively run a meeting? Is the person able to build coalitions? Does the person understand the role as a policy-making body without interference in daily operations, which are appropriately handled by staff?

Despite our dissatisfaction with the process, commissioners have followed the etiquette for years — until Tuesday. Richard Samuelson ascended to the chairmanship, but Grosso was bypassed for vice chairman. Bob Noah of Kenyon got that post.

The rotation is not sacrosanct. It has been changed if the commissioner seat in line for No. 2 is newly elected, which makes sense. For example, it would have been shortsighted to appoint newly elected Commissioner Ted Seifert as vice chairman. He needs more time on the job. Since Grosso and Seifert are the two commissioners representing Greater Red Wing, this area may be losing its turn in the leadership spot for several years.

But those circumstances have no bearing on what transpired this week. Grosso is not a new commissioner, and thereís no clear reason she should not be vice chairwoman.

There are plenty of underlying reasons she likely was dodged, however, Grosso often has sparred with 2002 Chairman Jim Bryant and other commissioners, and appropriately so in some cases to their chagrin. She has challenged county administration, too.

We’ve had our differences of opinion with Grosso as well on some issues, but that is no reason suddenly to abandon the leadership transition on the County Board.

It’s time for commissioners to adhere to the advice of their facilitator at Wednesdayís workshop: Put egos aside and focus on the work at hand. Debate the issues with respect and then move forward in unity. Creating divisions as commissioners did Tuesday only makes the business of running the county more difficult.