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New faces at Kandiyohi Co. Board table after swear in

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WILLMAR -- Surrounded by friends and family, a new Kandiyohi County attorney and a new county commissioner were sworn into office Tuesday during a public ceremony.

Jenna Fischer took the oath of office as the new county attorney and Jim Butterfield took his seat as county commissioner.

Fischer, who defeated longtime County Attorney Boyd Beccue last fall in an upset election, is the first elected woman to sit at the county table on a full-time basis. Her role includes providing legal advice to the County Board of Commissioners as board members conduct official business.

Butterfield, of Willmar, defeated three-term incumbent Richard Falk for a post on the board.

Family, friends and co-workers of Fischer and Butterfield packed the meeting room as the oath was administered.

Commissioners Dean Shuck, Harlan Madsen, Sheriff Dan Hartog, Auditor/Treasurer Sam Modderman and Recorder Julie Kalkbrenner, who were re-elected to their posts in November, were also sworn in.

Shuck, of rural Sunburg, was chosen by his peers to serve as chairman for 2011.

Commissioner Richard Larson, of Willmar, was elected vice chairman.

The commissioners rotate the leadership responsibilities and this would have been the year that Madsen, of rural Lake Lillian, was to have been the vice chairman.

In a brief interview after the meeting, Larson said the change-up in the rotation was to prepare for the future when one, and possibly two, current board members may not run for re-election. Without this change, the current rotation system could mean a newly elected commissioner would be thrust into a top leadership role in the person's first year on the board.

Larson, who was first elected to the board in 1997, said that he does not intend to run for office again after his term expires in 2012. Larson said he enjoys being on the board but said it is time for someone else to serve.

Commissioner Dennis Peterson, of Spicer, said he has not decided for sure if he will run again when his term expires in 2012.

Fischer, meanwhile, is getting settled into her new office at the courthouse and met with staff Monday, which was her first day on the job as county attorney.

It was confirmed that Connie Crowell, who was first assistant county attorney under Beccue, is no longer a member of the county attorney's staff. Her last day was Monday. The terms of her departure are not public record.

In other action as part of the county's reorganizational meeting:

- The West Central Tribune was named the official newspaper for publishing official notices and the Raymond-Prinsburg News was given the bid as second paper for the publication of the county's financial statement.

- The commissioners made appointments to various committees and appointed Dr. Robert Boyd to another one-year term as county coroner.

- The commissioners were informed that the state is terminating its lease contract Jan. 31 with the county for four offices at the Health and Human Services Buildings that had been housing employees of State Operated Services, a division of the state Department of Human Services. The contract means the loss of $2,000 a month in rental revenue. Efforts are under way to find new renter.

- A bid of $280,000 from Law Enforcement Technology Group was approved for a Web-based records management system that allows law enforcement officers to access public safety data. Big Stone County, which contracts with the county for dispatch and 911 services, will pay $30,000 of the cost. The bid also includes $43,000 in annual maintenance fees, with Big Stone paying $6,000 a year. Bond money left over from the county's new emergency radio network is being used to pay for the records system.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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