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Interviews Friday for three finalists for auditor in Swift County, Minn.

BENSON — Swift County Commissioners will interview three finalists Friday morning for the appointed position of auditor.

Whoever is selected will replace Byron Giese, who is retiring at the end of the month after 31 years in office.

Giese will be the last elected auditor in the county following approval by voters last fall to make the auditor and recorder positions appointed.

County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver said nine candidates applied for the auditor’s position and the commissioners will interview three.

The finalists include Gary Jensen, of Benson, who is currently the financial supervisor for the Swift County Human Services Department; Glen Peterson, of Starbuck, who is the director of finance for the city of Benson; and Kimberly Saterbak, of Benson, who works as a certified public accountant with a Willmar firm.

“We have very good, solid candidates,” said Pogge-Weaver. “I would imagine it will be a tough choice for the commissioners ultimately.”

Pogge-Weaver said it’s likely the commissioners will make a decision Friday on who to hire, but it’s unlikely the individual will begin the job before Giese’s last day on April 30.

Giese gave notice of his retirement almost two years ago and the commissioners had initially hoped to have a new auditor in place by now to create a smooth transition.

That part of the county’s reorganizational process went slower than expected, in part because of delays in hiring an administrator.

Pogge-Weaver began his job in mid-February and has taken over some of the duties that Giese had acquired over the years as auditor. Pogge-Weaver will continue to take on more of those duties, including human resources and shepherding the budget process.

He credits Giese and other county staff who have “a lot of institutional knowledge” for helping him make the transition as county administrator.

“Everyone has been very gracious and supportive in this transition,” said Pogge-Weaver. “Byron has been exceptional to work with.”

He said staff meetings have been held to discuss ways to continue the transition after Giese leaves and the new auditor begins.

Also on Friday, interviews will be conducted for a new payroll clerk to replace Deputy Auditor LoAnn Hagen who is also retiring April 30 after working for the county for 35 years.

Meanwhile, at the regular board meeting Tuesday the commissioners approved a $68,288 contract with Alternative Micrographic to scan historic land records from 1970 through November 2012.

The digitizing process will take six to 12 months, said Mary Amundson, director of the land records department. Amundson was appointed to the new position last year as part of the process to appoint, rather than elect, department heads.

Amundson said the paper and microfiche copies will be scanned and the information will then be available online through a fee-based system.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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