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Commissioners Report: County Board deals with personnel changes


Fri, Oct 26th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The County Commissioners dealt with personnel additions and replacements at their October 23 meeting. County Assessor Robert Pickett submitted his resignation effective December 28, 2007. The resignation was accepted with thanks for many years of service. Because of the additional work load due to the recent flooding, there is a real need to find a qualified replacement. Public advertisement to fill the position was approved.

Emergency Management/Veteran Affairs Director Deborah Teske has an overwhelming workload due to the flood and its aftermath and a large number of veterans returning home. The board approved advertising for a half time Assistant Veteran Service Officer. The applicant must be a veteran. Teske added that the need for the new staff position will be permanent. It will free up some of her time to concentrate on emergency management work. Commissioner Randy Dahl agreed, adding that it doesn't look like the war will end any time soon. Commissioner Duane Bakke stated that there is an increasingly large work load involved with fulfilling the federal government requirements to make the county eligible for federal dollars.

County Attorney Brett Corson asked the board to hire a temporary Assistant County Attorney to help in his department during the time of his military deployment during the coming year. He advised the board that a couple of interviews have been conducted and that he recommended the hiring of A. J. Kozlowski. Kozlowski is a recent graduate of Hamline University and has passed the bar. The board approved the hire and he will start November 5. Kozlowski will be handling misdemeanor and child support cases.

County Recorder David Kiehne asked for and received approval of the resignation of an Office Support Specialist in his department as of October 31. Advertisement for the replacement was approved.

SELCO Agreement

Ann Hutton, Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO), requested that the board consider and approve an agreement between SELCO and the county for 2008 through 2010. She noted that references to the now defunct bookmobile were removed from the current agreement. Language is added that the libraries have a commitment to cooperate with other community groups.

Fillmore County agrees to provide funding to SELCO for its services in the amounts of $189,000 in 2008, $198,450 in 2009, and $204,403 in 2010. Hutton explained that these funds do not go for capital expenditures, but to cover overhead expenses. The agreement was approved.

Seven city libraries are served by SELCO in the county. It was noted that the library in Rushford served its citizens well after the August flood especially by providing access to telephones and the Internet.

Law Enforcement

Sheriff Daryl Jensen requested that the board change policy for part-time non-union Law Enforcement Deputies. Jensen explained that the policy was put in place in 2002 in order to make adequate and fair compensation for part-time deputies. He asked to freeze the pay rate on three part-time positions at the 2007 rate. The positions have a negotiated wage and are non-union. Jensen suggested that the compensation is now adequate and competitive to the market place. His request was approved.

Two squad cars and the equipment in them were lost in the flood. The board approved replacement of the equipment. Jensen will bring back bids from local dealers to replace one squad car this year and the other next year. Insurance and FEMA will cover most of the loss.

Commissioner Chuck Amunrud commended the excellent job of the dispatchers in the aftermath of the flood. He added that he was in the dispatcher office on the Sunday morning of the flood and was impressed with their calm, cool headed work in the midst of chaos. All of the commissioners concurred.

Other Business

• County Coordinator Karen Brown again updated the board on the 2008 budget. On September 11, 2007, the board approved a preliminary budget with a possible levy increase of 10.53%. The board left themselves room with the unknowns resulting from the flood. The final levy is set in December when they can set the levy lower, but not higher. Brown suggested that the preliminary figure could be lowered around 4% partly due to savings because of health insurance plan changes reducing some premiums. The county would also be using up to $400,000 out of its general fund balance.

• Wetland Preservation Area applications were approved for Norman and Sheila Craig (7.5 acres), Preston Township, and Larry Berland (6.1 acres), Carrolton Township. Bakke explained that the preservation areas are restricted and in return the property owner is not required to pay taxes on those acres. The state reimburses the county.

• County Engineer John Grindeland requested and received approval to accept a $22,000 quote to pour concrete walls for the Peterson Shop. He had sought other quotes. Chairman Marc Prestby voted against as he felt the cost was excessive. Block walls were used at the Canton Shop and cost considerably less, but don't provide the stability of poured walls.

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