Commissioners ask for information on DDA services

The services and studies are part of a three-year agreement being considered by Wadena County for job compensation and classification.

Wadena County Commissioners 2021 2.jpg
Wadena County board members include commissioners Bill Stearns (left), Murlyn Kreklau, board chair Sheldon Monson, Mike Weyer and Jon Kangas. Photo courtesy of the Verndale Sun
Contributed / Verndale Sun

To better understand a three-year agreement for job classification and compensation studies and services, Wadena County commissioners requested a presentation with DDA Human Resources.

The agreement is a continuation of the studies started two years ago. The remaining projects would be completed from 2021-23. If the agreement is approved, the 2021 projects would also include salary projections for labor negotiations, market analysis, classification of any new or revised position descriptions and position description reviews.

The county has yearly job classification updates that require an outside agency. County coordinator Ryan Odden said the county usually has four-five a year. The previous agencies have been one-two year agreements. The longer agreement would create a more steady flow, as Odden said.

One of the remaining projects within the studies is an updated pay scale that matches the employees’ grades. The county’s pay steps are based on years of service, which employees move up to on their work anniversaries. The grade is based on the job description.

In an update in November 2020, DDA shared updated job descriptions and possible pay changes for specific employees. Commissioner Jon Kangas said the pay changes were speculation and should not have been shared. The expectations could have been clearer for the presentation, as commissioner Sheldon Monson said, and for the next one he asked commissioners to give their questions to Odden.


If the county entered the agreement, they would be committed to the three years unless a material breach occurred or if Sourcewell did not pay their portion, as county attorney Kyra Ladd said. In 2021, Sourcewell and Wadena County are to pay $3,250. For 2022 and 2023, the cost would be $6,500 each.

The agreement will be further discussed at a future meeting.

Tractor purchase

After approving a tractor purchase on Feb. 2 , commissioners requested more information and the highway department canceled the purchase of the tractor.

Commissioners compared four tractors with their main concern being glass protection. The glass is to help with rock protection as employees are mowing, according to highway maintenance foreman Jason Miller. As debris also flies from the mower towards the road, this safety issue should be addressed, as commissioner Jon Kangas said.

The need for using another tractor while the main mowing tractor is under maintenance is a yearly summer issue, Miller said. In 2019, the county spent $8,325 to rent a tractor while repairs were being completed. A tractor needed for other highway projects is also used during the repair times, Miller noted.

Miller also hopes to rotate tractors on a five to eight year basis instead of 10-12 years to increase the resale value of the tractors.

Commissioners approved a Massey Ferguson tractor for $52,258.80 with Aldrich Tractor. The safety glass is an additional $1,770. The glass could be installed as shields or replacement glass. A loaner tractor is also available during the warranty period of two years as well as a powertrain warranty of 36 months or 2,000 hours. The county uses about 600 hours a year, according to Miller.

Commissioner Bill Stearns was not in attendance.


In other action

Commissioners also approved:

  • Two raffles at Knob Hill on June 3 and Dec. 2, 2021. The spring raffle replaces the banquet as a fundraiser.

  • A liquor license renewal for Wahoo Valley Bar and Grill

  • The hiring of interns for the county extension office (4-H), parks and economic development (photography and graphic design), highway department and IT department. The cost of the interns are reimbursed through Sourcewell and state aid.

  • A meat processing facility for on and off site butchering in Sebeka. An existing barn on the property will be remodeled for the facility.

  • A three-year contract for auditing services with Clifton Larson Allen for $50,085. The county previously worked with the state auditors but made the change due to a savings of $20-30,000 a year, according to county auditor-treasurer Heather Olson.

  • Minnesota grant funds to 25 county businesses for a total of $271,237.

  • Five bridges in the county as needing repair or rehabilitation. The deficient status allows the highway department to apply for aid as available.

  • Extending the courthouse screening station and attendant through April 30 to match the Minnesota Supreme Court order.

  • Increasing a Public Health accountant position from 80% to 100% FTE.

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in feature reporting as well as enhancing online articles. Readers can reach Rebecca at 507-285-7681 or
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