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Shoeberg: Varied work requires experienced manager

Kevin Shoeberg said he has experience with the type of legal work handled by the Washington County Attorney's Office, so he is prepared to be the next county attorney.

Shoeberg has spent part of his legal career representing cities and townships within Washington County, including serving as municipal prosecutor. He also said his background includes civil and juvenile law.

"It's very important to have somebody who has familiarity in those areas," Shoeberg said.

The civil background is particularly important, Shoeberg said, because 60 percent of the office's work is in civil law, while 40 percent of the work is criminal casework.

Still, Shoeberg said one of his priorities would be to prosecute more criminal cases. There are criminal sexual conduct cases that have been reported to authorities, but do not get prosecuted, Shoeberg said. More of those cases should be prosecuted, he said, adding that he is not opposed to trying cases and losing. A jury or judge will decide whether the facts presented support guilty verdicts, he said.

If elected, Shoeberg said, he wants to give assistant attorneys more authority to resolve cases without getting approval first.

Shoeberg said he would provide guidelines for the types of cases that can be resolved without a supervising committee's review, but believes the county attorney must "have faith in the people that work for you."

Giving prosecutors more authority could lead to quicker case resolutions, he added.

Shoeberg and his opponent, Pete Orput, have different views of the county attorney's role.

Orput said he would take on a trial caseload, but Shoeberg said the job is more administrative and he thinks the county attorney must have more of a management role. Shoeberg said he would not take on a caseload.

Shoeberg said he already has worked with or for many of the cities and law enforcement agencies in the county.

"I've worked from Forest Lake Township to Denmark Township, geographically, and most cities in between," he said.

On the civil law side, Shoeberg said he would like to review the office's handling of property tax assessment appeals.

The county attorney's office represents the county when property owners dispute the assessments. He said he would like to see a streamlined appeals process and to resolve the cases faster.

Truancy and drug and alcohol use among juveniles are other issues Shoeberg said he would focus on as county attorney.