Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Commissioner Mike Slavik elected board chair, new commissioner welcomed

Commissioner Mike Slavik, who represents District 1 of Dakota County, was selected today as board chair by the Dakota County Board of Commissioners to replace Commissioner Nancy Schouweiler, who retired after 18 years.  
Replacing Commissioner Schouweiler to represent District 4 on the Board is newly elected Commissioner Joe Atkins of Inver Grove Heights. During the inaugural 2017 meeting, Chairman Slavik highlighted several 2017 Board priorities, including:
·         Enhancing the resident customer experience by expanding online payment options for residents applying for permits and licenses, and paying for other services.
·         Working closely with Dakota County's stakeholders and state and federal policymakers to advance the goal of transportation funding equity and effectiveness.
·         Implementing recommendations from the County's 2016 East-West Transit Study to improve transit options on East-West corridors in Dakota County.
·         Completing preparation of the Natural Resources Management Plan that will continue to set the direction of caring for natural resources, including removal of invasive species in Dakota County parks and expanding residential and business recycling efforts.
·         Working to lower long-term incarceration rates by improving coordination of services for inmates who have mental illness and chemical health challenges.
"All of these are very specific initiatives for 2017, but we'll also do the hundreds of daily activities that make Dakota County a great place to live," Slavik said. "Examples of this important work include improving public health, supporting people with disabilities, plowing our roads, protecting children from abuse and so much more."
As Slavik chairs the Board in 2017, Commissioner Kathleen Gaylord, who represents District 2, will serve as vice chair.  In addition to selecting Commissioners Slavik and Gaylord to new roles, the Board welcomed newly sworn-in Commissioner Joe Atkins, who was elected in Nov. 2016 by the voters of District 4.
Atkins has a long record of public service in Dakota County, beginning as a member of the Inver Grove Heights School Board from 1987-1990.  From 1992 to 2002, he served as mayor of Inver Grove Heights, and in 2002 he was elected to the first of his seven terms as state representative for District 52B. In the House of Representatives, he served on the following committees:  Commerce and Regulatory Reform, Capital Investment, Transportation Policy and Finance, and Ethics.

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