No pay cuts for Douglas County staff

Dave Robley

Although the discussion was minimal, an agenda item for the Douglas County Board of Commissioners could have had big consequences for county employees.

Chairman Keith Englund said the item – cutting staff salaries – should have never been on the agenda in the first place.

“We had someone call in and blindside us,” Englund said, reiterating it shouldn’t have been on the agenda.

Englund said county employees are busier than ever during this time of COVID-19 and are working hard to make sure the county runs and operates as it should.

Englund made the motion to “drop the idea” of cutting salaries and it was unanimously approved.


“Nobody gets a pay cut,” Englund stated.

New public works director

Another item that was unanimously approved was the appointment of Tim Erickson as the new Douglas County engineer/Public Works director. He is replacing Dave Robley who is retiring after 25 years. His last day is April 30.

Englund thanked Robley for his many years of devoted service to the county and said Robley was one of the better county engineers in the state. All the other commissioners also thanked him for his years and gave him a round of applause.

Robley said it was a wonderful opportunity to work for the county and that he had a great career.

He also said the county made an excellent choice in hiring Erickson and that he feels comfortable leaving the department in his hands.

Erickson, who worked as the county engineer for Lake of the Woods County, said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve Douglas County.

Roundabout at 8 and 40

Although there was no action taken on the new roundabout planned at the intersection of County Road 8 and County Road 40, Englund asked Robley a few questions about it based on feedback the commissioners have received.

County Road 8, known as the Barrett Road, and County Road 40, which was and still connects to 114, is slightly north and mostly west of Alexandria. Because of how the roads are built, the intersection doesn’t square up perfectly, which is why it has to be rebuilt. Robley said this is the reason why the cost of putting in a roundabout would be about the same as putting in a four-way stop.


A safety audit determined the intersection was one of the most dangerous in Douglas County, Robley said.

He said that according to crash data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there have been 15 crashes in the last 10 years. Most of the crashes have been right angle crashes or T-bone style crashes.

Rumble strips were put on County Road 8 in 2017 and since that time, there have been three crashes, two right-angle and one rear-end collision, he said.

“It is still my opinion that this is a dangerous intersection,” Robley said. “It averages out to about one and a half crashes per year. We’ve been fortunate there haven’t been any fatal crashes in the last 10 years.”

Robley reiterated that putting in a roundabout at that intersection is the safest option. He also said that funds from the local option sales tax would pay for the reconstruction of the intersection.

In other board action

The county commissioners also approved the following other items:

  • Adoption of the Joint Waste Designation Plan with Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Management.

  • Purchase of a CD3 watercraft cleaning station that will be set up at the public access in the city of Osakis. The total cost is $31,800 and will be paid for with the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid funds from the state.

  • Purchase of a kayak launch that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act for Lake Brophy County Park at a cost of $24,475. This will be paid for with money from Minnesota’s Legacy Funds.

  • Union contract for the social services department.

Tim Erickson

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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