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County to hire administrator

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to proceed with the search for a new county administrator and elected two commissioners, Marv Zylstra and Robert Demuth Jr., to serve on a seven-member selection committee as the process moves forward.

Two other members of the committee were selected from the county's management team Tuesday afternoon. They include Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz and Assessor Joe Udermann. Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster was named an alternate.

The group of five will select two individuals to fill at-large appointments. The committee is tasked with bringing a recommendation to the board at its Sept. 18 meeting on how to proceed with the hiring process.

The two options the committee will consider are whether to conduct the search in-house, or to hire a recruitment firm to manage the search.

Over the course of the past several months, the board had considered the option of hiring a county coordinator rather than an administrator. To make the switch to coordinator would have required a public referendum.

The consensus of the board on Tuesday was to move forward with the administrator position.

"I sat in on a couple of management team (meetings) and what came out to me is we need to hire the right person, whether it's administrator or coordinator," Zylstra said.

"There's way more counties in the state that have an administrator," added Commissioner Diane Thier.

Interim Nobles County Administrator Vijay Sethi presented commissioners with information about Springsted, an agency that performs executive level employment searches, and noted that the cost for those services would be $14,000 plus expenses.

Meanwhile, Deputy County Administrator Sue Luing said she surveyed 20 counties of similar size regarding salaries and benefits of administrators, how they recruited their administrator and any contracts they had for recruitment.

A couple of counties who used Springsted shared their experience with the recruitment firm. That information will be provided to the selection committee.

In other action, the board:

* Approved the sale of tax-forfeited land in the city of Lismore. The state requires the land be sold for the assessed value, and it can only be sold to the city. The value of the property is $300. The city of Lismore already has an interested buyer for the parcel.

* Approved a request from the city of Rushmore to restrict parking on Nobles County 73 in front of an apartment building on the south side of town. By eliminating a couple of parking stalls, the space can be used by emergency vehicles to access the entrance.

* Discussed the possibility of relocating the RSVP office to The Center for Active Living when the building is complete. One of the main concerns is that the county, which provides an office for RSVP in the Government Center, would have to pay the city a monthly rent of $400 to $500 for the office space, plus pay additional for phone and computer lines.

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

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