Isle and Wahkon City Clerk Mutual Aid Agreement
Staff in the adjacent cities of Isle and Wahkon have long had informal arrangements to back each other up and have codified that support through a mutual aid agreement.
These kinds of agreements ensure continuity of service in case of emergency and allow for flexibility in scheduling time off.
“It’s like having a safety net,” said Isle City Clerk-Treasurer Jamie Hubbell. “Even if you never use it, it’s nice to know it’s there, especially in one-person departments, which is common in rural Minnesota. It gives you peace of mind.”
The cities’ first agreement was implemented in 2013 when Wahkon reached out to Isle to ensure backup for the city’s wastewater treatment utility.
“When my city’s wastewater operator would take vacation — well deserved vacation — it was nice to know Isle was watching over our city utility,” said Wahkon City Clerk-Treasurer Karrie Roeschlein.
Minnesota Statutes, section 471.59 gives cities broad power to create mutual aid agreements for any purpose. The agreement can be used in cases of illness, injury, vacation, termination, or death.
Regularly review and update
The cities updated their agreement in 2016. It now provides for assistance with personnel and equipment for sewer, water, utility billing, and city clerk/treasurer services. City clerks have treasurer authority to report payroll, sign checks, and report to the Office of the State Auditor, authority that other positions in the city such as a deputy clerk do not have. The two clerks are familiar with each other’s accounting software, which makes moving between municipalities easier.
The cities used the League’s model mutual aid agreement to shape their own. The model includes sections on liability and pay. For example, if one of the clerks gets hurt while working in the other city, it would fall under the workers’ compensation plan of their home city. If action by the visiting clerk created a financial liability, it would be the responsibility of the city where the clerk was working.
Up to three hours of help during a 30-day period is provided for free under the agreement. After that, the cities would bill each other.