Board Appoints Scott Johnson as interim District 1 Commissioner
July 1, 2022
by Jeff Olsen
Three District 1 residents applied to be appointed to the remainder of the late Commissioner John Horner's term - Scott Johnson, Glenda Phillipe, and Kevin Bruce.
"Kevin Bruce and Glenda Phillipe are on the ballot for the four-year term along with Dean Byfuglien, Alan Johnston and Shane Horner," said Roseau County Commissioner Jack Swanson last Friday.
He noted that on Tuesday morning, the Roseau County Commissioners would make a decision on whom they would appoint to fill out the remaining six months of Mr. Horner's term.
"Speaking for myself, I don't want to appoint somebody who's on the ballot. So, in my mind at this point, there is only one name to consider (Scott Johnson). That again is only speaking for myself."
Mr. Johnson, a Warroad businessman who has his own construction company as well as business properties, spoke prior to Tuesday's Roseau County Board meeting and public hearing.
"My wife, Mary, has the dog grooming in town here. We stay busy," he said, noting that he and John Horner were close friends.
"I had kind of talked him into running for commissioner because he'd be a good commissioner. It would be an honor to finish out his term," he said this past Monday morning.
Mr. Johnson is a busy guy and had conferred with his wife about filling the last six months of Commissioner Horner's term. She was very supportive.
"I'd give it one-hundred percent. I know a lot about the community and had owned the golf course. So, I'm pretty familiar with Lake Township, the Warroad Estates, and have good friends at Springsteel," he said, adding that he's done a lot of construction and attended lots of meetings.
"I think I can step in and fill in for the six-month duration and do the job. I think I can help out."
He admits there are some things that he doesn't know about county government.
"Roger Falk was a neighbor, and he didn't have any government experience either. He's doing a pretty fine job. So, you don't have to go to college. You just have to have common sense and do what's right for the county. I just want to make sure there is a voice."
For those six months, he noted that he will make sure he does a good job.
"If I get in there, great. If they decide to get someone else, that's great, too. It's their decision."
Scott, 63, grew up in Warroad and left for 20 years before coming back and buying the golf course.
He has served on the Warroad Chamber of Commerce and also on the board of directors for Farmers Union Oil Company for eight years.
Commissioner Swanson and his fellow board members can now say, "Mission Accomplished" following Tuesday's public hearing.
"The rationale for appointing Scott was two-fold. First, he is not on the ballot for the November election and second, he is willing and able to fulfill all of the duties of the District 1 Commissioner," he said following Tuesday's board meeting.
It was not a unanimous vote, according to Swanson.
"It was three to one," he said, noting that Commissioner Russell Walker was the lone dissenter.
"Russell voted against because he thought Scott's name was on the ballot."
Warroad Community Development was represented by Cyndy Renfrow, who presented a letter to the board.
In the letter, Ms. Renfrow explained that the intent of her letter was not an endorsement of any individual candidate.
"She did share some thoughts on leadership and what makes a good leader," said Swanson, commenting that her suggestions are great and would be a fine template for any school board, city council, or whatever the entity.
"I agree with every point she made. She was there simply to say this is an important decision, and we agree."
Former Roseau County Commissioner Glenda Phillipe attended the hearing.
"She spoke and agreed that appointing someone who is on the ballot is not a good idea."
Scott Johnson attended and addressed the board.
"We appreciate Scott's willingness to essentially volunteer for six months," said Swanson.
"Obviously, he'll be paid. It's important that we have commissioners for every district."