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County commissioners are elected officials who oversee county activities and work to ensure that citizen concerns are met, federal and state requirements are fulfilled, and county operations run smoothly. They spend a lot of time working with and representing people and responding to their concerns. They attend regular meetings of the county board as well as meetings of board subcommittees and county-related boards and commissions. They represent county issues before local, state and national groups, including school boards, city councils, township boards, and state and federal offices.
While no minimum education or prior experience is required, individual backgrounds and personalities can enhance effectiveness in the office of commissioner. Useful experiences include operating a business; service on township and school boards or city councils; involvement in community activities; and management experience. Personal traits that can benefit county commissioners include a sense of humor, an open mind, a vision of where county government should go, an ability to compromise, and an ability to delegate. Effective communication and negotiation skills are also important.
St. Louis County commissioners serve a four-year term that is staggered among the board members, so that not all are elected at the same time. Newly elected commissioners take office the first Monday in January following their election. County board chairs are elected at the Board’s first meeting in early January. Commissioners’ salaries vary, because they are set by individual county boards at the beginning of each year. In recent years commissioner salaries in Minnesota have ranged from $5,600 to over $100,000 annually.
The office of St. Louis County Commissioner is considered to be a full-time position with a 2022 annual salary of $65,896.67. The chair of the board receives an additional $3,000 per year; the vice-chair, $1,500. As elected officials, commissioners do not accrue and are not charged for vacation, sick leave, personal leave, compensatory time, or holidays.
County commissioners have administrative duties, as well as financial and legislative responsibilities. Following is a partial list of these duties and responsibilities:
Establish a plan for the review and evaluation of county services and programs.
County Commissioners Office
100 North 5th Avenue West
Duluth, MN 55802
Contact Your County Commissioner