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Second EDC staffer resigns

WILLMAR — Another staff departure was announced this week at the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, where a search is already about to begin for a new executive director.

Jean Spaulding, assistant EDC director, submitted a letter of resignation Tuesday. Members of the joint operations board, who met Thursday, voted to forward a recommendation to the joint powers board to accept Spaulding’s resignation “with regret.”

Spaulding, who has been with the EDC since 2008, is taking a position in the private sector. Her last day on the job is Aug. 7, one week after Steve Renquist, EDC executive director, officially retires.

Board members wished Spaulding well in her new position with Quam Construction.

Her career change will be “an asset to them and a loss for us,” said Linda Kacher, vice chairman of the Economic Development Commission joint operations board.

Decisions about the replacement process will rest with the joint powers board, which also must formally accept Spaulding’s resignation.

Doug Reese, a Kandiyohi County Commissioner and EDC joint powers board liaison to the operations board, said board members just heard the news Tuesday and have had no opportunity to talk about what the next steps might be.

“We haven’t had the discussion,” he said.

One option might be to have Renquist stay on, possibly until the end of the year — something he has said he’s willing to do if asked.

Renquist said Thursday that Aug. 1 is still the planned date for his retirement to begin. “Nothing’s changed from that,” he said. But he said the joint powers board has asked him privately “if my offer to work was still good. I said yes.”

It may be a couple of weeks yet before the joint powers board discusses a course of action. The board’s next meeting won’t take place until July 23, unless a special meeting is called sooner.

Spaulding thanked the operations board members Thursday for the direction and leadership they have provided to the staff and the organization.

Her decision to leave was “a very, very difficult decision to make,” she said. “I have loved every minute that I’ve worked with the EDC.”

The executive director and assistant director comprise two of the three staff positions with the Economic Development Commission. The agency also employs a business development specialist.

Renquist said Thursday that discussion will be taking place soon on how to reassign and divide up the staff responsibilities during the next several weeks of transition.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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