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Search narrows for county administrator

WORTHINGTON -- The pool of candidates vying for the Nobles County Administrator post has been narrowed from 41 applicants to 10 individuals -- three women and seven men -- who will be asked to complete questionnaires in the coming week.

Nobles County Interim Administrator Vijay Sethi said he was pleased with the number of applicants and the quality of those seeking the county's top post. The county administrator position was vacated in early April, and Sethi came in as interim administrator in July.

"Based on the résumés, the 10 that they picked seem like they were pretty well qualified," Sethi said on Wednesday. "Hopefully we can find the right person."

Nobles County is working with employment firm Springsted Inc., in the job search. Springsted consultant David Unmacht met with the search committee on Monday to narrow the field of applicants.

"They reviewed all of the 41 applications and (Unmacht) divided them into two categories -- the group that he didn't feel was qualified for the position based on experience and education (and the group to advance)," Sethi explained.

Of the 20 applications that were discussed in more detail Monday, the committee selected 10 applicants to receive a questionnaire providing more detailed information. Those 10-question documents will be due in early December, with the selection committee slated to review the responses Dec. 10 or 11.

"They will then narrow that number down to a smaller number -- three or four or five," Sethi said. "It would all depend on how those responses come in."

Of the 10 selected to advance to the questionnaire stage, Sethi said at least three of the candidates have county government experience, with several of the others noting experience in city government.

Serving on the selection committee are Nobles County Commissioners Marv Zylstra and Bob Demuth Jr., county attorney Kathleen Kusz, county assessor Joe Udermann, Sethi, deputy county administrator Sue Luing, Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh, Adrian Mayor Robert Wiese and county auditor-treasurer Sharon Balster as alternate for Kusz.

Sethi said the first round of interviews is anticipated to take place the third week in December, with the second round to follow in early January.

If an individual is selected for employment following the interviews, Sethi said contract negotiation and allowing time for the individual to give proper notice to a current employer may mean an early February start date for the new county administrator.

Sethi's contract with Nobles County for interim administrative work runs out at the end of this year, but there is a provision stating that the agreement can be extended upon mutual consent.

"I have made a commitment to say that I would stay around until after the position has been filled, within reason," Sethi said.

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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