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Commission accepts resignation, prepares for future replacement

By Anna Jauhola
Kittson County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Deb Costin, the county’s long-time payroll and benefits specialist.
Costin submitted her letter to the board for consideration prior to its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
However, her resignation will not be effective for quite some time. She gave more than a year’s notice.
“She visited with me a little on wanting to have ample time to train the next person,” said Commission Chair Theresia Gillie. “She’s very concerned about her job. She wants to make sure the person that comes in will understand it as well as she does.”
The commissioners accepted the resignation “with regret” but also “with appreciation to have time to find another person.”
Her resignation will be effective no later than Oct. 2, 2021. She can leave earlier than that, should her replacement be trained in effectively earlier than expected.
The commissioners will discuss with Costin the earliest possible departure date, should she feel training is complete.
Also, that date will help ensure Costin has an appropriate amount of time to complete training.
Marilyn Gustafson, administrative coordinator, said it isn’t necessary to “jump the gun” on advertising for the position yet. In approximately one and a half months, the county should have an administrator hired and that person should be included in seeking a new payroll/benefits employee.
Museum appropriation
Cindy Adams, director of the Kittson County History Center/Museum, made her annual request for funding during Tuesday’s meeting. In 2019, the board approved an increase in its annual appropriation from $60,000 to $62,000.
“We get that from you right now, which is really nice and we appreciate it. And we’ll be fine with that,” Adams said.
She handed out a budget sheet showing the museum’s proposed 2021 budget, which had increased expenses, and the request for funding was $65,405. Adams added the money received from the county goes mostly toward paying salary and payroll taxes, plus some of the insurance.
Adams also gave a brief update on the progress of building the addition on to the museum. So far, the project has cost $252,000 and only about $60,000 is needed to complete the project. The next step, which the museum board approved, is for siding to be put on.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum has remained closed to the public, but Adams has continued working.
“I’m there if someone needs to donate something or needs genealogy research done,” she said. “So we’re still operating. I feel the museum is a place to collect and preserve the county’s history. And we’re a tourist attraction.”
The museum’s board decided the museum will remain closed through August, despite the good traffic through the area.
“We’re just being extra cautious,” Adams said.
The museum has been unable to hold any fundraisers, but is planning to hold a drive-through dinner in Kennedy at the end of August. Last year, the museum brought in $8,000 through fundraisers and different projects, but that income has declined due to the virus this year.
The board did not act on Adams’s request, but will take it into consideration while finalizing the county’s budget for 2021.

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