On Sept. 30, Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly announced that he was going to be retiring effective at the end of 2020. In his statement, Kelly specifically asked that the Wright County Board of Commissioners appoint Brian Lutes, Chief of the Criminal Division of the Wright County Attorney’s Office, to fill out the remaining two years of Kelly’s current term.
Kelly and Assistant County Attorney Brian Asleson reiterated their praise of Lutes’ work ethic and professionalism at the Oct. 27 Committee of the Whole meeting, which forwarded a recommendation to the county board to appoint Lutes.
At the Nov. 3 meeting of the Wright County Board, the commissioners unanimously approved appointing Lutes – a responsibility statutorily required of a county board to fill in-term vacancies.
Lutes thanked Kelly and the commissioners for bestowing the honor upon him,
“I’m appreciative, obviously, in Mr. Kelly’s faith in me and the support of the commissioners,” Lutes said. “We did have a pretty detailed discussion at the Committee of the Whole, where we went through my background. It was hard to hear all those nice words that the Mr. Kelly and Mr. Asleson said about me.”
Lutes is no stranger to Wright County. He has been a member of the Monticello community for 20 years with his wife, five children and one grandchild. He has been active in the community, coaching youth sports and being active in his church. Lutes has been a member of the Wright County Attorney’s Office for 21 years – the last 10 of those as Chief of the Criminal Division. He has also been the department’s chief liaison with law enforcement, including the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol and municipal police departments in Buffalo, Annandale and Maple Lake.
He has put in his time and has earned praise from his co-workers and outside agencies for his work ethic, tireless energy and professionalism. He thanked the commissioners for appointing him, but added that he would have preferred to continue working under Kelly.
“I do think that I have earned this position,” Lutes said. “I love working for Tom and, in perfect world, I (would) continue working for him into infinity. But, he’s been county attorney for 22 years and with the county attorney’s office for 37 years. He’s earned his right to retire. I won’t disappoint the faith and the support that Mr. Kelly and the commissioners have placed in me and I do thank you for your support.”
The commissioners thanked Lutes for his dedication to Wright County and to the county attorney’s office and believe Kelly made the right choice when he recommended who should be his successor.
“We all know that respect is earned, it’s not given,” Commissioner Mike Potter said. “Tom Kelly has made it very clear that you have his respect and the honor that he has gone through to be part of this. I wholeheartedly agree with him that you have earned his respect and I’m looking forward to having another fantastic county attorney working for Wright County.”