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Commission accepts interim administrator resignation, working to redistribute duties

By Anna Jauhola
Kittson County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Shirley Swenson as interim administrator during the Tuesday, July 21 meeting. Swenson submitted her resignation letter late Wednesday, July 15.
Swenson was appointed interim administrator in June before Eric Christensen left. As she is no longer in the position, her pay will be reduced to her original pay of $29.89 per hour as financial accounting specialist/ deputy registrar effective Thursday, July 16.
The board discussed how to move forward and possibly redistributing the administrator duties among several people. They noted Swenson is willing to continue handling some of the administrator duties, but not others.
“We need to make sure she’s doing what her job description says and is compensated for what is added on,” said Commissioner Corey Wikstrom.
However, the commissioners were not clear on Swenson’s job duties and asked for a full job description. Interim Board Clerk Deb Costin said she should be able to find the description. This way, as the board determines who takes what part of the administrator’s duties, they can best compensate those people for their time.
“I’m just going to say what I’m thinking. If she wants to pick and choose, then we just say no and get somebody else,” said Commissioner Leon Olson.
“And I’m all for that, too,” said Commissioner Loren Younggren, noting there are several options to consider.
Commission Chair Theresia Gillie said Swenson is currently working on budgeting, which she helped Christensen with in previous years, as that’s part of her job as a financial accounting specialist.
Personnel committee members Olson and Commissioner Darrel Johnson will work on finding job descriptions and speak with Christensen.
Younggren made a motion to accept Swenson’s resignation, along with determining her actual job description to enable the commissioners to properly redistribute administrator duties. Gillie thanked Swenson for serving as interim administrator.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved Deb Costin as interim board clerk until a new administrator is hired.
• Approved an engineer agreement for August with Marshall County. The board will file an agreement with Marshall County monthly until they hire a new county engineer. The search continues to fill the position.
• Approved the Election CARES Act Resolution enabling the county to apply for a grant through the federal CARES Act to help with additional costs related to COVID-19 for this year’s elections.
• Approved moving back to having weekly board meetings as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The commissioners will continue to meet in person in the upstairs meeting room at the courthouse in Hallock. The GoToMeeting app will be available at each meeting for the public to view if they are uncomfortable with attending the meetings in person. Should there be no business that necessitates a meeting, the board will make notice that a meeting will not take place.
• Approved the annual contract with the 49ers’ union.
• Discussed moving the administrator’s office from the far southeast corner of the courthouse to a different location. Currently, the commissioners feel the office is in a less approachable area, as it is located down a hallway behind the courtroom. The commissioners will continue to discuss the idea as the county searches for a new administrator.
• Heard an update from the Northwest Minnesota Multi-County Housing & Redevelopment Authority.

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