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Wadena Board looks for office space in courthouse for new county coordinator

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The Wadena County Board of Commissioners spent a lot of time at its meetings on Feb. 12 and again on Feb.18 hashing out the issue of where the new county coordinator will have his or her office, after hiring takes place, estimated for May 1.

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It suddenly occurred to the commissioners about two weeks ago that there is no office space available for the new county coordinator. The Courthouse is filled to overflowing with employees and spaces for providing public services.

In response to this revelation, commissioners discussed among themselves and with department heads how to solve the problem. Some of the potential solutions they considered were:

• Remodel the county board room into an office suite for the coordinator, and move the county board downstairs to the Auditorium.

• Remodel the Planning, Zoning, and Parks office suite for the coordinator, and move the Planning, Zoning, and Parks Department over to Highway.

• Build an office at Highway for the coordinator.

• Put the coordinator into a small office in the Treasurer's Department.

The option that is chosen must be implemented immediately, so that moving and remodeling is completed by the time that final interviews for the coordinator position take place, probably in late April.

One commissioner said, "When we give the candidates their tours of the building, we don't want to have to say, 'This broom closet will be your office.'"

The position is already being advertised statewide on the websites of professional organizations, the Association of Minnesota Counties and major Minnesota colleges and universities that offer degrees in public administration.

Another committee meeting on the issue was scheduled for Feb. 20, with the results to be presented at the March 4 county board meeting.

In other business, the board:

• Established a new line item in the county accounting system to hold funds for future facilities projects

• Approved the purchase of a Jetpack for field work by workers in Planning and Zoning

• Approved the purchase of Adobe Acrobat software and installation for Planning and Zoning

• Reviewed commissioner committee assignments for the third time

• Approved a plan for the Employee Wellness Program for the next two years at a cost of $1,625.

• Heard a report by Darren Newville of the Wadena SWCD that included the 2014-2015 Feedlot Work Plan, the 2013 Feedlot Officer Performance Credit Report, and the Wetland Conservation Act of 2013, and approved the feedlot plan, as required by MPCA. The county currently has 110 eligible feedlots (those with over 50 animal units (AUs)). There were no changes to the feedlot plan.

• Learned that the Wadena SWCD is interviewing candidates for District Technician.

• Approved clarifications of the pay of part-time non-union Sheriff's deputies and part-time non-union bailiffs; and clarifications of the procedure of carrying over part of deputies' and jailer/dispatchers' clothing allowances from one calendar year to the next.

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