Ramsey County sheriff launches petition to have county manager elected rather than appointed
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher has launched a petition drive that would place a question on the ballot to amend the county charter to have the county manager elected by voters instead of appointed by the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners.
Fletcher told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he does not think current Ramsey County Manager Ryan O’Connor should continue in his position unless he is elected by voters.
“Frankly, we can’t do any worse. This county manager is as anti-public safety, anti-law enforcement as I have seen in my 45 years,” Fletcher said. “The defunding of law enforcement, the closing of Totem Town, the refusal to let use the beds workhouse — this has been an administration that is really not concerned about public safety.”
Fletcher said the petition requires a minimum of 16,000 signatures from registered Ramsey County voters by June of next year. If that happens, a question to amend the county charter would be placed on the November 2024 ballot. that would ask voters if whether they would rather have the county manager’s position elected or remain a political appointment by the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners.
“Appointed officials are never as close to the public and as responsive to the public’s concerns as elected officials,” Fletcher said. “All around the country, counties are turning to elect their county managers because they want to have that relationship.”
Ramsey County leaders declined an interview request, but Trista MatasCastillo, chair of the Ramsey County Board issued the following statement:
“Ramsey County voters created the position of County Manager more than thirty years ago because they recognized that professional, non-partisan management works best for taxpayers and residents alike. The changes Sheriff Fletcher is suggesting would require an amendment to the county’s home rule charter, not an online petition,” MatasCastillo said.
“I am disappointed to see Sheriff Fletcher spend time and energy on this political maneuver instead of collaborating with the rest of the county, including the county manager, on effective and transparent use of taxpayer dollars which is our collective responsibility to the public. It is time for all of us to come together, really come together, and keep Ramsey County residents safe.”