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Renville County wants new administrator at new year's start

OLIVIA -- Renville County is setting early January as the target date to have a new county administrator on board.

The County Board of Commissioners conducted a special meeting Tuesday to adopt a proposal by an administrator search task force to launch the process of selecting a new administrator.

The commissioners had decided earlier that the county would conduct its search without retaining a search firm or the direct assistance of the Minnesota Association of Counties. Instead, they appointed a task force to develop a job description, timetable and process for the search.

The task force is not recommending any significant changes in the job description or duties of the new administrator, according to Zach Robideau, county human resources director and task force member. The most notable change was a revision in language that clarifies that the administrator serves at the direction of the county commissioners, he said.

The county will immediately advertise for applicants through the Minnesota Association of Counties, the Minnesota League of Cities, professional organizations and media, according to Robideau.

The commissioners anticipate strong interest in the position. Commissioner Paul Setzepfandt of Bird Island, a task force member, said he's already received a call from a firm that specializes in administrative job searches. It has clients who have heard the position is open and are interested, he said.

The task force expects that it can begin interviewing candidates in December with expectations of offering the position by Dec. 6.

The new administrator will succeed Bill Wells, who resigned to accept a position as the city administrator for Orono. Wells became the county's first administrator when he accepted the position in 1998. He announced his resignation in late August and completed his duties with Renville County at the end of September.

In a related matter, the commissioners agreed to provide county finance director Karrie Jansen an additional $2,000 a month in compensation for the added duties of serving as interim administrator until Jan. 1.