It's been seven months in the making and Peter Herlofsky Jr. may not officially come on board for another three months, but Crow Wing County has hired a county administrator.
This is good news for Crow Wing County, a location that has long since outgrown its reputation as only a bucolic haven for the urban-weary. The rate at which Crow Wing County is growing is amazing. And it can be measured in more than just the growing frustration motorists feel when fighting their way through the traffic on a simple crosstown trip.
Let's look at the figures. The county's 1990 population of 44,249 was a hike of about 6 percent compared to the 1980 population of 41,722. The 1998 population of 51,605 was about 21 percent higher than the 1980 benchmark. Those figures don't count the part-time resident and Crow Wing County has traditionally had a high rate of non-resident land ownership. Some estimates have placed the summer time population at three or four times the normal head count.
Efficient management is going to be the key to handling the bumps in the road that fast-paced growth may place in our path. Hiring a county administrator should improve communication, with all non-elected department employees reporting to one central administrator rather than to a five-headed creature such as the county board. The board will be freed from administrative tasks to concentrate their efforts on setting policies.
It's a model of government that is already found in many counties, including Cass and Morrison, and in all school districts.
We commend the commissioners for their exhaustive efforts to hire a county administrator and look forward to any possible streamlining of county government that might result in the years to come.
Crow Wing County will have to either be ready for the growth that's soon going take place or be prepared to fix the mistakes that will be made when it is caught napping.
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