Robert Lahman is sworn in as Otter Tail County District 4 commissioner by Otter Tail County auditor/treasurer Wayne Stein during the opening meeting of the commissioners of 2023 at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls Tuesday, Jan. 3.

By Robert Williams

Editor, Frazee-Vergas Forum

Otter Tail County welcomed Robert Lahman to the Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Jan. 3 at the first meeting of the year in Fergus Falls. 

The Otter Tail County Board members elected Wayne Johnson (District 2) as Chair and Kurt Mortenson (District 3) as Co-Chair for 2023.

Commissioner Lahman was elected in November after defeating outgoing chair Betty Murphy in a tight race. Lahman received 2,574 votes (51.42 percent) to Murphy’s 2,419 (48.32 percent).

Lahman grew up in Eastern Township near Parkers Prairie. He graduated from Parkers Prairie high school and attended Alexandria Technical College in the Diesel Mechanic Program. 

Upon graduation, he continued to farm with his father. He held an elected office on the Eastern Township Board for 23 years. Lahman has also been a business owner in Parkers Prairie managing Prairie Auto Service and NAPA Auto Parts stores.

“I am looking forward to working with the people of Otter Tail County,” Lahman said. “My goals include advocating for infrastructure resources from the State and promoting County services to people in my district and county-wide.”

Otter Tail County is divided into five districts. District 4 represents six communities including Parkers Prairie, Henning, New York Mills, and Ottertail as well as 16 townships in the southeast portion of the county. As a member of the board, he will participate in board meetings, serve on internal and external committees and work on behalf of his constituents. Commissioners are responsible for examining and setting budgets, policies, and many other functions of county government.

“Congratulations to Commissioner Lahman, who will represent District 4 citizens,” Nicole Hansen, County Administrator said. “As a past township official and business owner, he brings local government leadership and private sector experiences that will benefit all of Otter Tail County’s residents. He has begun meeting with staff to learn more about county government and challenging issues. We all look forward to working with Commissioner Lahman.”

Each commissioner serves 4-year terms.

District 2 commissioner Wayne Johnson was elected board chair replacing Murphy. Johnson previously served as Vice Chair. Kurt Mortenson of District 3 was elected as co-Chair.

The board also released committee assignments. Lahman will be chair of the Safety & Justice committee. Kurt Mortenson will chair the Health & Wellness committee; Johnson will chair the Finance, Property & License Management committee; Dan Bucholz will chair the Economic Growth & Community Investment committee and Lee Rogness will chair the Administration/Operations committee.

Other assignments to internal committees, land use and economy, resilience, public infrastructure, natural resources and parks were also announced and can be viewed in the Jan. 3 meeting supporting documents online. 

For more information on the county commissioners visit