Jack Lavold, a longtime member of the South Washington Watershed District, was appointed Tuesday to replace Karla Bigham on the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
The board voted 4-0 to name Lavold, who will hold the District 4 seat until a new commissioner is elected in November.
Lavold, who has pledged not to seek election this fall to the seat, is expected to be sworn into office next week.
Bigham, who chaired the County Board, was elected to the state Senate in a February special election.
Of the 11 people who applied for the position, the board gave serious consideration to two: Lavold and Dan Dolan of Woodbury, president of the Washington County Agricultural Society. Both candidates were proven leaders with financial experience, said Commissioner Lisa Weik.
But the board chose Lavold, she said, because of his knowledge of water-related issues, which she called “the most pressing need” in the wake of the multimillion-dollar 3M settlement with the state over contaminated groundwater. He also knows local elected officials and lives in the district’s largest city, Cottage Grove, she said.
The county is establishing a plan for the St. Croix River basin, Weik said, and “it would be a distinct advantage ... to have someone familiar with this project appointed at this time. Mr. Lavold is already a subject expert in this planning process, and in my opinion his expertise in all water issues differentiates him from the other candidates.”
According to county officials, Lavold has served on the Cottage Grove Public Works Commission and the county’s parks and planning commissions. He has been on the watershed board for more than 20 years and also served on the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission. He formerly worked for 3M and what is now Xcel Energy.