Dunn Twsp. calls question: Should clerk be elected or appointed? Pelican, Trondhjem, Oscar, Dunn elect officers

By Louis Hoglund

Many area township voters will have additional motivations for going to the polls on election day, November 8.

In Dunn Township, for example ,there is a specific township government question on the ballot which could change Dunn’s governing structure. Voters will be asked whether or not the clerk’s position should be appointed–or elected, as it is presently.

A number of townships in Otter Tail County, including the greater Pelican Rapids area, will be electing officers November 8.  Minnesota tradition is for township officer voting in March, but some townships have chosen to tie into the November general election for officer elections.

Townships in the area that have switched to November voting include: Dunn, Oscar, Pelican, and Trondhjem.

The special question will be on the Dunn Township ballot, along with four positions on the board.

Dunn voters will be aked if the township be given the authority to appoint, rather than elect, a township clerk. With the increasing demands and complexities of township government, an appointed clerk enables the township to hire a clerk as an employee–rather than subject to election.

At a population of nearly 800, and one of the larger township operating budgets in the area, Dunn Township deals with a wider range of issues, expenses and topics than many sparsely populated, agriculture-based townships.  Three large lakes are positioned in township boundaries­–Pelican, Franklin and Lizzie. There is more commercial property in Dunn than most townships, and there is an increasing permanent population as lake homes are renovated from seasonal to year-round residences.

The Dunn board has even taken the somewhat unusual step of publicly advocating the change in township government–encouraging a vote to convert the clerk into an appointed, staff position; on the payroll.

In a mailing from Dunn Township, three specific reasons were outlined–in favor of an appointed clerk:

• Because of the high degree of technical equipment and software it is becoming more difficult to find qualified candidates to run for the position.

• With an appointed clerk the board of supervisors can go outside of the township to find the right person to fill the position.

• With an elected clerk it is much more difficult to replace that person if they are unqualified to fulfill the duties of the position.

Depending on the outcome of that question, the clerk’s seat will remain on the ballot. Filing for the position is current appointed clerk Douglas Winter, who is fulfilling the remaining two years of former clerk Mike Johnson’s term.  Also assisting at Dunn Town Hall is Faye Spitzley.

Two supervisor seats are on the ballot. Bob Dalman has filed for re-election. Also up for election is the seat held by David Johnson. He had not filed when this edition of the Pelican Rapids Press went to press, but the deadline was Tuesday, August 16, at 5 p.m.

Filing for re-election to the Dunn Township treasurer’s seat was Susan Peplenjak.