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New Nobles County administrator has first meeting with commissioners

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WORTHINGTON -- During his first official board meeting with Nobles County commissioners Tuesday, interim administrator Vijay Sethi gathered input to begin bringing departments together and planning for the future.

County department heads and representatives from the board of commissioners have met on a regular basis during the past two months as a management team. Their role is to work on reestablishing relationships and building trust, and that work will continue to move forward with Sethi's help.

Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz was selected to report to the board on behalf of the management team.

"Our purpose is to act as a voice to the commissioners," Kusz said Tuesday, adding that the team will discuss county happenings, what's working or isn't working, potential changes to written policies and discussion of unwritten policies.

"We want to consider employee health, wellness and morale," she said.

In the coming weeks, the county will also continue discussions about the county coordinator versus county administrator position.

In other action, the board:

* Approved the low bid of $208,821.50 from Triple A Striping of Rogers to perform pavement marking services this year. The bid was for contracted work in Nobles, Rock, Jackson and Cottonwood counties, in addition to the city of Worthington.

* Approved a request from Trent Slater, Wilmont, to construct an additional driveway to his property in the northwest quarter of Section 13, Larkin Township.

* Approved conditional use permits for the following on recommendation from the county's Planning Commission: Randy Kruger, Brewster, to operate a dog kennel in Section 15, Hersey Township; Marty Weiss, Adrian, to construct an 82- by 200-foot hog barn in Section 17, Olney Township; and Scott Henning, Adrian, for continued operation of a gravel pit in Section 29, Westside Township.

* Appointed commissioners David Benson, Bob Demuth and Vern Leistico to the Joint Ditch Authority. A meeting between the three Nobles County commissioners and two Murray County commissioners is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 19, to hear a request from a property owner who wishes to outlet some tile from property that is not currently in the ditch authority.

* Approved a resolution amending the Rock River Septic System program, giving Rock County $36,000 of Nobles County's grant allocation. Once all of the funds have been used by Rock County, the counties containing portions of the Rock River can apply for additional grant dollars.

* Ratified a labor agreement with the Teamsters, including the non-licensed essential employees in the Sheriff's Office. The agreement calls for a 0 percent pay increase in 2012, a 1.25 percent increase in 2013 and a 2 percent increase in 2014.

* Approved a Memorandum of Agreement with University of Minnesota Extension, effective Jan. 1. The new three-year agreement calls for a pay increase for the University-supplied 4-H program coordinator of 1 percent in 2013, and a 1.5 percent increase in both 2014 and 2015.

* Approved a request to fill a vacancy for a children's mental health social worker in the human services department.

* Approved requests to fill a full-time jailer vacancy, as well as a full-time temporary jailer vacancy, at the Prairie Justice Center.

* Approved a request from Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz to hire a part-time seasonal employee in the county attorney's office to help get caught up on paperwork. Kusz said an unpaid intern worked in the office this spring and it was a great help. There was money set aside in the budget for a summer hire.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330