Sertich scores historic win in final IRRRB meeting

High NoonEarlier this week I wrote that outgoing Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich would either emerge from his last meeting today as Gary Cooper from “High Noon” or end up like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

We have our answer.

I just checked in with my friend Rep. Tom Anzelc after today’s meeting. He reports that outgoing Commissioner Sertich had “a good day,” scoring all of his major policy goals on the meeting’s ambitious agenda.

Most notably, most of the Douglas J. Johnson Economic Trust was unanimously voted into a private 501(C)3 private nonprofit organization. This move protects it from future legislative raids and removes some elements of politics from its governance so that it may used wisely to benefit the people of the Iron Range. That’s the hope, anyway.

Also approved were loans for Magnetation’s Plant 4 project, Silcon Energy’s new line of solar panels and production tax rebates for Iron Range mines re-investing in their facilities. A major education initiative designed to improve collaboration and curriculum across the range got a $2 million start, and scads of public works projects were also OK’d.

This week, a spokesperson for Gov. Dayton said the governor plans to announce the new commissioner of the IRRRB sometime before Jan. 5. I had halfway hoped they’d make a decision yet this week, but if they don’t I expect the holidays will push it back. I know some of the candidates who got interviews, but I don’t think my list is complete. Fundamentally, it comes down to what kind of Iron Range agenda Gov. Dayton plans to set for the next four years.

UPDATE: What the board actually did was approve up to $100,000 million of the DJJ Fund into the new nonprofit for private development. About $39 million will remain in the DJJ under control of the IRRRB.


  1. I hope that with the new 501 C3 title the IRRRB quits being a political bat for each party to beat the other with and becomes a vehicle for change up here by bringing jobs. Get the politicians out and business folks in.

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