Tuesday’s Yellow Medicine County Board Meeting began with the swearing-in of new District 2 Commissioner John Berends and ended with the board’s acceptance of a resignation letter from County Administrator Ryan Krosch.
Typically new commissioners are not installed until after the first of the year but because the District 2 (Granite Falls) seat involved a special election to replace Commissioner Dick Wambeke, who passed away last year, Berends was sworn in at the first opportunity.
“It feels pretty good. I sat on the other side of that table for a number of months so I’ve been ready to go to work for quite some time. I’m relieved that the day is finally here,” he said
An official resignation letter from Krosch was hardly a surprise after it was reported on November 13 that YMC’s Administrator of six years had accepted an offer to become administrator for Nicollet County, where he is said to have family.
In his letter Krosch thanked the board on behalf of himself and other department heads for having been given the flexibility to implement “many progressive and innovative changes the past six years.”
“My personal goals when I started for YMC were to make the County more efficient, better organized, fiscally healthy and to maximize the return on the taxpayer’s investment,” Krosch said in his letter. “As I prepare to move on from my work here ... I can honestly say that these personal goals have been achieved. The County is in better financial shape than it has ever been, our tax levy increases the past six years have been modest despite experiencing one of the worst recessions ever and the County’s services have become more efficient and innovative.”
As a final recommendation to the board, Krosch encouraged commissioners to continue to move in a progressive direction and to once again hire a County Administrator (as opposed to coordinator) to ensure that such positive steps continue.
Said Krosch,”YMC has become known around the state as a progressive rural county that is able to “think outside the box” when it makes sense to do so. [It] is also considered a great place to work in the area and morale among staff is generally very good.”
The letter was accepted unanimously by the board without discussion or comment, save a word of “congratulations,” from commissioner Ron Antony.
According to the St. Peter Herald, Krosch will receive a starting salary of $111,586. He was hired as Yellow Medicine County’s first administrator in 2007 with a salary of $74,099. At the time of his departure, he will have been earning $97,509.82.
Page 2 of 3 - Following the acceptance of Krosch’s resignation, the board discussed the procedure it would follow for hiring a replacement.
Commissioners discussed two options for replacing Krosch, one in which the county would conduct its own search for a viable candidate and a second in which it would hire the headhunting services of Springstead, the same company that developed the county’s current wage and salary guidelines, at a cost of $13,000 to $15,000
With Antony the lone dissenter, board members would vote to go the direction of the latter option believing that the hiring of Springstead would bring the highest qualified candidate in the most efficient time scale.
According to Krosch, the position would likely be advertised in December, interviewed for in January and filled sometime between February and April. As such, he said an interim administrator would be necessary to keep the county functioning in the meantime.
As an appropriate candidate, Krosch nominated County Finance Manager Michelle May, noting that the county employee of one year had worked closest to the administrator’s position and was most aware of the jobs responsibilities. Despite this, commissioner Louis Sherlin would nominate Family Service Director Peggy Heglund for the interim role, citing her broad and long running experience working within the county as reasons for the interim hire.
May said she was interested in fulfilling the role while Heglund said she needed time to see how she would make it work with her present responsibilities. She also said she felt it was pertinent to inform the board that she would be applying for the YMC Administrator post.
Board members would eventually table the discussion with intent of naming an interim administrator next meeting after more research had been completed.
In other news:
•The board voted unanimously to purchase a construction management contract from Contegrity Group, Inc.
According to Contegrity vice president Earl Fuechtmann, it will be Contegrity’s responsibility to oversee renovations to the newly acquired government center building, located off Prentice st. and formerly known as the Fagen Engineering Building, as well as to the YMC Courthouse.
The three phase contract involves an estimated $18,000 to oversee contractor renovation of the new government center building, $6,000 to oversee a space analysis of the courthouse and a yet to be negotiated price for further renovations expected to come about as a result of the space anaylsis.
•Both YMC Sheriff Bill Flaten and Family Services Director Heglund approached the board seeking software upgrades to support department function.
According to Flaten, current computer software used to facilitate jail function has become outdated and has to be replaced. The new security control system will be installed by SGTS, inc. of Verona, Wisconsin at an approximate cost of $45,000.
Page 3 of 3 - As for Health and Human Services, Heglund’s request involved software that would aid income maintenance workers with electronic efficiencies and could reduce a need for future hires, she said.
The software, by Information Systems Corporation, of Moorhead, will run the county approximately $61,500.
Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of both purchases, which will be drawn from reserves.