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Wadena Commissioners decide on temporary office for county coordinator

After months of discussion and indecision, Wadena County commissioners have settled on where to place the new county coordinator temporarily when he or she is hired and begins work on May 1.

During a strategic planning meeting held March 25, commissioners considered several locations within the courthouse, as well as locations in other county buildings, before choosing a solution suggested by Zoning and Parks Director Deana Malone.

Malone suggested that GIS supervisor Gina Dahm move to a space within the office of the County Recorder.  Then Malone would move to Dahm’s former space.  That would free up Malone’s former office for the coordinator.  No construction or remodeling would be required.  The moving of the offices can take place in three stages during April, and be completed by May 1 when the new coordinator’s arrival is planned.

Malone emphasized that this solution is temporary, since she would be sitting in an area without a door, and would lack privacy for discussions with employees or customers. Commissioners agreed to revisit the situation within six months after the coordinator is hired.

About a dozen applications for the position of county coordinator have been received and processed by county officials.  Last week, each commissioner was supplied with copies of all the applications.  Each then used a set of criteria created by Human Resources Consultant Cheryl Goettig to evaluate the applications and individually rank them.

The criteria included education, experience in local government and other factors.  At press time, the list of criteria had not been received from Goettig.

The ranked applications were to be discussed by the screening committee composed of commissioners Stearns and Noon, Morrison County Coordinator Deb Gruber, Goettig, and County Attorney Kyra Ladd during the week of March 24.  Three to five finalists were to be selected by the screening committee.  Interviews in Wadena by the board of commissioners will take place during the week of April 14.  The exact dates and times will be posted at the courthouse as soon as they are known.

Also decided during the March 25 strategic planning meeting was how commissioners will move forward on choosing ways to provide additional space for county offices.  The next step commissioners approved was for County Engineer Ryan Odden to meet with an architect and request cost estimates comparing total costs for constructing a new one-story building just north of the Courthouse, and remodeling the Wensman Building.  Odden is authorized to spend up to $5,000 to obtain these estimates. The estimates are to be discussed during the April board meetings.