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- 9 months 3 weeks
For the past two months, the Wadena County Sheriff's Department has had to send some of its inmates to other jails, due to lack of space. It has been several years since this was necessary. Sheriff Mike Carr told us in a telephone interview on March 19 that he has been boarding out between 8 and 10 people per day since January. The cost for out-of-county boarding was $3,246 as of March 19. The Wadena County Jail has 27 beds, but may only use 23 of them because of Minnesota Department of Corrections staffing regulations.
Wadena commissioners voted March 11 to accept the recommendation of Social Services Director Paul Sailer and County Engineer Ryan Odden to transfer the Friendly Rider Transit Program and the Volunteer Driver Program from Social Services to the Highway Department, effective April 1. Reasons for the transfer include Sailer's imminent retirement, Odden's willingness to house the program at Highway, and the purchase and remodeling of the former Bob's Auto building to house the Friendly Rider Transit Program.
Wadena commissioners learned at their March 11 board meeting that County Attorney Kyra Ladd had interviewed a suitable candidate for the vacant position of Assistant County Attorney. Ladd told the board that she would like to hire Brice Norton, an attorney with seven years' experience as a clerk for the chief judge of the First Judicial District of Minnesota, chambered in Glencoe, in McLeod County. The First Judicial District includes seven counties, three of them in the metro area.
Wadena commissioners heard from BKV Group partner Bruce Schwartzman in a special board meeting March 7 about his architect firm's plan to remodel the upper level of the courthouse.
Wadena commissioners heard a detailed proposal March 4 regarding reorganizing some of the upper-level and lower-level courthouse spaces to create an office for the new county coordinator who is expected to be hired by May 1.
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. 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.
The Wadena county board spent time going over the revised version of a job description for the new position of county coordinator Jan. 23. The board hopes to hire a county coordinator this spring.
The Wadena County Board held a special meeting Jan. 22 to allow commissioners to confer with Seventh District Court personnel, county department heads, and the newly-hired architect from BKV Group, Bruce Schwartzman. The purpose of the meeting was to consider Schwartzman's initial proposal to remodel the county's two courtrooms, judicial chambers, court staff space, security arrangements, and law library.
As part of their ongoing effort to restructure Wadena County government to make it more efficient and effective, Wadena commissioners held a special meeting on Jan. 17. All commissioners attended, along with County Attorney Kyra Ladd, County Engineer Ryan Odden, Social Services Director Paul Sailer, Public Health Director Cindy Pederson, and Auditor/Treasurer Judy Taves. Thus, the meeting included the four of the county's five revenue fund managers as well as its commissioners.
Council members spent time taking care of organizational matters that occur annually, and considered several proposals, some of which they acted on and some of which they tabled at the city council meeting Jan. 14. Here are the highlights of the Council meeting: