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Deputy leaving for chief's job

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news Wadena, 56482
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Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

After several years of service with the Wadena County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Michael C. Johnson submitted his resignation as a full time deputy with the department. Johnson was promoted to chief of police with the Frazee Police Department. In his letter of resignation to the Wadena County Sheriff's Department, Johnson expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve Wadena County, its residents and visitors. Johnson expressed his desire to continue working in Wadena County as a part-time deputy. The Board of Commissioners accepted the deputy's resignation with regret.

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Sheriff Mike Carr requested board permission to begin the hiring process to fill the open position as soon as possible, with a start date of Jan. 1. Carr said he intends to use part-time deputies to fill in schedule vacancies in the meantime. Commissioner Rodney Bounds requested Carr's justification for the need of another full-time deputy. The Wadena County Sheriff's Department covers 565 square miles and currently has only enough officers to have one on-duty deputy during daytime hours and two during night hours. Given the area the department covers and the current number of officers, not filling the full-time deputy position would not be an option, Carr said. The board granted permission to begin the process of hiring for the full time deputy position.

Solid Waste bids rejected, will start over

Solid Waste Director Mike Hanan brought to the Wadena County Board bids for tornado debris removal. Hanan reported that not all of the contractors had followed the bid requirements, and therefore it was difficult to compare the bids equally. After discussion of the options, the board unanimously approved rejection of all bids and to begin the bidding process over again. As a requirement of submitting a bid for debris removal, the contractor must be present at a pre-bid conference, wherein all questions will be answered to ensure that all bid requirements are understood and all contractors will submit bids based on the same criteria. Contractors will be required to sign in at the conference and bids will not be accepted from anyone not present at the conference.

Concern over driving visibility

Russell Kangas approached the board regarding a visibility issue entering and exiting his driveway along County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 21 in the Menahga area. A recent utility and highway project was completed in the area. As a result of the construction of the project, the driveway of Kangas' property was moved. Kangas is concerned that a group of trees along CSAH 21 reduces visibility for those entering and exiting his driveway. County Highway Engineer Ryan Odden, along with commissioners Schermerhorn and Stearns, have previously been in contact with Kangas and had investigated the issue. The group of trees of Kangas' concern are on private property and not in the road right-of-way. Odden, Schermerhorn and Stearns are all familiar with the area and the trees; and they agreed that some of the branches may reduce visibility somewhat. However, Odden stated the area Kangas is concerned with meets all State Aid rules and standards for an urban section with a design speed of 30 miles per hour, and thus the county cannot cut down the trees without permission of the property owner. Odden spoke with the property owner. He states that she "likes her trees" and is not willing to cut them down. In the opinion of County Attorney Kyra Ladd, since CSAH 21 meets all state aid rules and standards for that particular segment of highway, unless there is a law violation that the county is unaware of, the County Highway Department has no authority further address the issue of the trees on private property.

2009 audit shows improvement for county

Bob Johnson, of the State of Minnesota Office of the Auditor, reviewed the county's 2009 audit. Though a few deficiencies were sighted in the overall audit, no instances of noncompliance were found. A five-year comparison summary shows the county with average overall annual increases in cash and assets.

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