Local Gov't Accountability Roundup 12/23/11

FARIBAULT: City and County Tackle Forfeited Houses Together The Rice County Board cleared the way to contract with the city of Faribault to remove a house forfeited by the previous owner and bank.The structure has been empty for nearly two years and deemed a safety hazard following two fires. The county hopes to recoup the costs eventually when the property goes back on the tax rolls. Other blighted houses may be next, perhaps some from newer than the century old structure just approved for demolition. 

PARK RAPIDS: Two Non-Profit Community Action Agencies May Become One Two well-known service agencies, Mahube Community Council and Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council, are discussing combining operations. The two agencies support low-income and elderly individuals in Mahnomen, Hubbard, Becker, Otter Tail and Wadena counties. The discussion centers on continuing to deliver the same services more efficiently and effectively. 

MOORHEAD: No Sleigh Rides Due to Shortfall—Of Snow City park officials have cancelled sleigh rides planned next week. Not due to Scrooge-like budget concerns behind the scenes, but another sort of deficit, namely snow. 

BURNSVILLE: Longtime Non-Profit CEO Leaves Following Shake-Up The departure of Mary Ajax after 37 years ushers in a new era at the non-profit agency 360 Communities. Compensation for top staff became an issue following a budget deficit of more than $500,000. It was reported that Ajax earned $235,000 in 2009 and her top aide received $172,000. Four key staff left their jobs earlier this year. 

MANKATO: MnDOT Criticized and Fined For Safety Violations Leading to Employee’s Death OSHA safety inspectors fined MnDOT $30,000 for critical safety violations involved in the March death of an employee working to clear floodwaters on a backhoe. MnDOT paid the fine and submitted a safety plan “to ensure, on a statewide basis, that this doesn’t happen again.”

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