Skov asks board to think again about Ranger Glenn

The Wadena County Board's decision to cut the position of parks maintenance operator and put out a request for proposals to contract for the work did not sit well with Parks Administrator Deana Skov.

The Wadena County Board's decision to cut the position of parks maintenance operator and put out a request for proposals to contract for the work did not sit well with Parks Administrator Deana Skov.

"I just don't feel that the board had all the information to make a decision like that," Skov said.

The position held by Glenn Motzko, known to county parks visitors as Ranger Glenn, was discontinued following a closed meeting by the county board Jan. 6. Motzko held the full-time seasonal position since 2005 and contracted with the county for eight years prior.

Skov said the parks department should have been consulted before the decision to cut was made. The department does all it can to keep its budget as minimal as possible, she said.

Skov visited the county board meeting on Jan. 22 to express her opposition to the board's decision. A number of people showed up to support the position, she said, including two local outfitters, Malinda Dexter from the Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District, members from Old Wadena Society and representatives from the county parks board.


Skov presented information highlighting the increase in parks revenue under Motzko's tenure. Camping fees increased from $7,867 in 1998 to about $15,000 in 2008. Skov pointed out that includes a fee increase from $8 to $10 last year.

"I believe that the work Glenn does and the manner in which he does his work ... is what has made our park system what it is today," she said.

Motzko takes a lot of pride and ownership in the county parks, she said.

She knows the decision should be about the position, but it is hard to separate the person from the position when Motzko does such an excellent job, Skov said. For the amount of money he is paid Motzko goes above and beyond.

Motzko's most recent wage was $12.69 an hour.

The RFP involves a 800-hour contract, which Skov said is not realistic. The 800 hours contracted before the seasonal job was created was never enough to perform all the different tasks associated with the position since she was first involved with the parks in 1997, she said. The parks department had to request commissioner's approval for an additional 100 to 200 hours of work each year.

The full-time seasonal position was for 40 hours a week for seven months, Motzko said. He received unemployment for the remaining five months.

The unemployment issue first started the discussion about whether or not to have a parks maintenance operator.


Mike Gibson, the county's former human resources consultant, received a notice of unemployment this fall. He asked the county auditor about it since one of his tasks is to look for efficiencies, he said. The situation was explained to him. A position at the solid waste department opened up and he suggested the position for Motzko so he wouldn't have to draw unemployment, Gibson said. The county does not have unemployment insurance and must pay out-of-pocket. Motzko declined the job citing personal reasons and unemployment was notified, Gibson said. He informed the county board about the situation to see what their wishes were. After considerable discussion commissioners decided to discontinue the position and go back to the RFP, he said.

Gibson emphasized that at all times Motzko was highly recognized and complimented on his work. While there is no guarantee that a particular person will be awarded the 800-hour contract, Motzko will certainly be looked at strongly because of his record, Gibson said. The county is not obligated to take the lowest RFP.

Skov indicated in information she presented to the county board that Motzko had been willing to forgo the unemployment for the winter if that was an issue.

Gibson said later that he was not previously aware of this and that might be enough for the board to reconsider its decision. He added that while it is within Motzko's rights to choose not to claim unemployment the liability still remains for that position.

After hearing Skov's presentation the board decided to revisit its decision at the Feb. 3 county board meeting. The parks board met Tuesday night to discuss the issue and will report back to commissioners, she said.

Skov is hopeful that Motzko's position will return to what it was, she said.

Motzko agrees. He just wants to get back to work when the season officially starts April 1, he said.

"I've got a job to do," Motzko said. "I put my life out there all summer long."

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