Yet the commissioner’s blunt speech was too much for some county public employee union members, who took the pointed reminder to buy local as an opportunity.

“The disrespectful comments were taken very hard by many employees … and seen as dismissive,” social worker and AFSCME Local 66 president Dennis Frazier told the County Board. Nelson left his chair and retreated to a conference room adjacent to board chambers as Frazier spoke from a lectern facing the board.

Commissioner Beth Olson joined in further politicizing what some might call a controversy in search of an issue.

Olson said county employees didn’t deserve to arrive at work to face what she described as a “hostile” email.

“It was so disrespectful to them,” she said. “They would never be allowed to act that way in a professional workplace.”

Ironically, county board members agree with Nelson’s message on the need to prioritize the purchase of local goods and supplies. But that was really beside the point, except for Nelson.

“What I said in the email that I sent out to every county employee, I absolutely meant every word I said — every word,” Nelson said. “What in the hell are we doing buying off of Amazon? So, I won’t apologize for it and don’t ever expect me to.”