County attorney elected to leadership role on state attorneys association

Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad

Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad

Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad has been elected treasurer of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association for 2013.

Edblad, who has served as Isanti County Attorney since 1995, has belonged to the association since December 1989, when serving as an assistant Chisago County attorney, and he has served on the board of directors the past eight years.

The County Attorneys Association is the statewide professional association for all elected 87 county attorneys and their assistants (more than 700 attorneys). The association provides leadership on legal and public policy issues, fosters communication and cooperation among its members, and offers legal training to enhance professionalism among the county attorney offices.

“One of the strengths of the association is its strong committees addressing various issues involving public safety and public policy,” Edblad said. “We have a committee for peace officer training, and I’m also the co-chair of community outreach with Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom. We also have a task force dealing with criminal sexual conducts, drug sentences and work with statewide uniform diversion standards for county attorneys to use.”

As treasurer of the association, with the assistance of the executive director, Edblad is responsible for overseeing custody of all funds and revenues; payment of all bills; reporting the financial affairs at each annual meeting; keeping account of all monies received and disbursed, which is audited annually; preparing and filing reports, tax returns and other documentation as required by law; and performing such duties and functions with respect to dues and other monies.

Ottertail County Attorney David Hauser was elected president of the association for 2013 and has known Edblad for more than a decade.

“Jeff (Edblad) has served on a number of statewide committees, including the state sentencing guidelines commission,” Hauser said. “He brings back his reports to our association for discussion and background, since this is such an interest for all county attorneys. Jeff is a real practical, sensible guy to have on our board.”

Some of the various committees the association has includes appellate, child support, civil commitment, civil law, community outreach, criminal law, diversity, education, ethics, Indian law, juvenile, peace officer training, planning and futures and technology.

“I really feel the benefits of all attorneys serving on the board is the ability to engage others in issues and bring issues of concerns to discuss with each other,” Hauser said. “Some of these statewide issues we discuss are issues we are facing in our own counties. And with all our various committees, it’s a great way to stay connected and stay informed of different statutory changes and updates in our judicial system.”

With Edblad’s election as treasurer, he’s now on a leadership track to next serve as secretary, president-elect and then president of the association.

John Kingrey, executive director of the association, explained in 2009 Edblad was honored with the Johnson Distinguished Service Award. The award honors a member who has demonstrated a history of significant leadership, strived to improve the quality of justice, and whose activity has increased public awareness of the office of county attorney.

“Jeff (Edblad) is one of those folks who are very well-respected,” Kingrey said. “People listen to what he has to say, and he does an outstanding job of taking controversial issues and coming to a resolution.”

Edblad feels the association has directly impacted improvements in the judicial system as it relates to public safety, felony DWIs, domestic assault, juvenile life without parole issues, forfeitures, expungement, felony voting, crimes of violence and sexual violence issues.

“We have an excellent training program and infrastructure in place for communication and sharing of information among the 87 county attorneys,” Edblad said. “We also have a strong legal advocacy presence that has a successful history of changing legislation for the betterment of public safety issues and concerns.”

Another aspect Edblad feels is important for the association is its mentorship program. Edblad is currently the assigned mentor for Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo, Washington County Attorney Peter Orput and Meeker County Attorney Tony Spector. He has also mentored other county attorneys in the past.

“After I was elected Isanti County Attorney in November 1994, then Anoka County Attorney Bob Johnson made himself available as my mentor and provided as much guidance and support as he could, and I try to carry with me that same spirit and provide mentorship to newly elected county attorneys to the best of my ability.”

Edblad said serving on the association’s board of directors gives recognition to Isanti County.

“It’s important for us to keep membership with the association for training opportunities for other attorneys in our office; it provides peace officer training for our law enforcement officers, and as a member of the board of directors, it gives Isanti County a big voice at the table as it relates to public safety, public policy and criminal justice issues at a statewide level.”

Edblad said he feels there are many benefits to serving on the association.

“There is a significant value by having a voice at the table, and we have gained the ability to work at the Legislature and influence the direction of public safety as it relates to laws, protecting victims, protecting the public, and we have made great strides in all those issues,” Edblad said. “It’s very rewarding and flattering that I have a value in that role. Public policy and public safety statewide impacts our citizens every day.”

For more information on the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, visit www.mcaa-mn.org.

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