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Administrator hiring process moving smoothly, position posted

By Anna Jauhola
The county administrator position for Kittson County is officially posted.
Gary Weiers, of DDA Human Resources, appeared at the Tuesday, July 7 meeting of the Kittson County Commissioners via phone. The commission hired DDA to conduct a search for a new administrator after Eric Christensen resigned earlier this summer. He needed the commissioners to set a salary range and asked if any of them had changes to the position profile.
Commissioner Loren Younggren asked Weiers to change a few descriptions in regard to Kittson County within the profile.
“I was reading through and thinking, ‘Does this excite me? Does this make me want to come to Kittson County?’” Younggren told Weiers. “The comment about being a Swedish-speaking community, I don’t think that’s going to draw anybody in. But, something maybe more with the heart of the Red River Valley and our fertile soil gives it a better description.”
He also mentioned Kittson County is awfully flat and does not contain low-rolling hills as described. And he’d like to see a few other items highlighted, such as the wild elk herds that roam the northeastern portion of the county and deer hunting, industry opportunities for employment and commerce, three public golf courses and the numerous festivals held annually such as Kickn’ Up Kountry.
“Those are just some of my thoughts to make it look more impressive to somebody who’s never been up in this area,” Younggren said. “We’re pretty rural and we’re pretty small, but we have a lot going on up here.”
Interim Administrator Shirley Swenson said she sent a few suggestions and corrections to Weiers by email.
The commission set the administrator salary range from $80,000 to $105,000. Weiers said the timeline will lead to DDA selecting finalists for the position by Tuesday, Sept. 1 and in-person interviews with the commission on Wednesday, Sept. 23. He made the changes to the position profile, sent to commissioners and posted the job on Wednesday, July 8.
“When we’re doing this, we’re outsiders, so it’s great to hear the inside comments. So I really appreciate hearing everything everyone had to say,” Weiers said.
In other business, the commission:
• Heard from Assistant County Engineer Keith Klegstad that he revamped the ad for the county engineer position and will post it again to attract new applicants. He is posting again in newspapers and adding online postings to sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn. For Indeed, however, he needed a salary range. He and the commissioners agreed the range from $85,000 to $120,000, depending on experience, was a good place to start.
• Heard from Sheriff Mark Wilwant that he will spend some 911 funds on six sets of new Kevlar body armor. The $9,073.56 cost will be reimbursed to the county by the state and federal authorities. The equipment needs updating every five years, he said. They are also upgrading the paging units which are kept in the attic of the courthouse for $11,802.36. Swenson said the county’s 911 fund – which is designated money that can only be used for certain things – currently has about $280,000. Each month, the county receives $6,181.95 toward that fund.
• Approved temporary election pay for Deb Costin of $350 per month from July through November.
• Approved the annual liquor license for Far North Spirits.
• Tabled quotes and decisions on a managed information technology (IT) service until the next meeting to investigate the possibility of sharing IT services with another county.

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