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Paynesville Press - Jan. 22, 2003

County commissioners have new leader

By Michael Jacobson

The Stearns County Board of Commissioners has a new board chair. Leigh Lenzmeier, commissioner for the Fourth District, now holds the gavel.

Lenzmeier has served as a commissioner for Stearns County for 12 years; he was first elected in 1990. He's served as the board chair once before, in 1993. He represents South St. Cloud and St. Augusta and Fair Haven and Lynden Townships

Don Otte, who represents the Fifth District, including Paynesville, was the chair last year. The county board also elected a new vice chair, Larry Haws, who has served on the county board for four years. He represents the First District, within St. Cloud. Before retiring last year.

Also at the county board meeting in January, the Commissioners set their meeting schedule for the year. Instead of meeting the first four Tuesdays of each month, the board will only meet three times a month, the first, third, and fourth Tuesdays (except in January when they'll meet the first three Tuesdays and not the fourth).

The board agreed to try the shorter meeting schedule for six months, at which time they'll evaluate it. The board also voted to hold meetings outside of St. Cloud only on an as-needed basis or at the request of a commissioner. Previously, the board had held meetings in the various districts every quarter.

At their first meeting in January, Vince Schaefer took the oath of office as commissioner for the Third District, which includes Eden Lake Township and Munson Township. Schaefer, the former mayor of Rockville, replaces Rose Arnold, who retired.

The board also swore into office a new sheriff, a new recorder, and a new county attorney. John Sanner (a former captain in the sheriff's department) is the new sheriff for Stearns County; Diane Grundhoefer (who previously was the assistant recorder) is the new recorder; and Janelle Kendall (who was previously the Mille Lacs County Attorney) is the new county attorney.

(Editor's Note: Former commissioner Rose Arnold's new column on county government can be found here this week.)

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