WILLMAR - In a unanimous vote Tuesday the Kandiyohi County Commissioners voted to appoint Ann Stehn to oversee the county Public Health and Family Services Departments on a permanent basis.
The action is the first step in merging the two departments into a new combined entity that is tentatively being called the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Department.
Stehn was praised for being "trusted" and "respected" by employees from both departments.
It's "important we have the right people" at the right place and time, said Commissioner Harlan Madsen, in support of Stehn.
Stehn has worked for the county's Public Health Department since 1996 and has been the director there since 1998.
She was named interim director of the Family Services Department in March after Jay Kieft resigned.
Kleindl said the board cannot combine two departments that had separate directors in the past and expect Stehn to do both jobs without additional support.
Although the county can share staff and programs with the two departments, officially merging them requires state approval.
Chairman Richard Larson said the public will not notice any change in services with the change in administration and structure.