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County administrator search narrowed to four candidates

WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County Administrator search has been narrowed to four candidates, but names of the finalists will not be released until after each of the individuals has notified their current employer of their selection to advance to a second round of interviews.

Interim Nobles County Administrator Vijay Sethi said interviews were conducted with eight candidates on Wednesday. Of those, three were in-person interviews and the remaining five were conducted via phone or Skype.

Initially, the search committee selected 10 candidates for first-round interviews, but four of them dropped out of the process -- including one who accepted a job elsewhere, and another who cited medical reasons. The committee then selected two additional candidates from the original pool of 41 applicants.

Sethi said Thursday that he's already heard one of the four finalists may have been offered a job elsewhere.

With a sense of urgency to keep the process moving forward, Sethi said the next round of interviews will take place in early January.

"The committee felt they needed to move forward," he said. "With the holidays in between, we decided to wait until early January, but the urgency is there and hopefully by Jan. 9, we won't have any more candidates drop out."

The next step in the hiring process is actually a two-day event for the finalists. They will arrive on Jan. 8, for a tour of the county departments and have a brief meeting with members of the county's management team (primarily department heads). That evening, there will be an open house meet and greet with the candidates, Sethi said.

Then, on the morning of Jan. 9, they will each participate in an interview with the full county board of commissioners.

"At that time, the board can ... receive input from the management team," Sethi said. "Then, they would go ahead and make a decision and negotiate the salary package."

The commissioners could recess the meeting if they need additional time to consider the candidates, he added. Once the candidate is selected, a background check would need to be completed before the hiring is made official.

Sethi is pleased with the finalists selected by the committee.

"We have four candidates with a tremendous amount of local government experience," he said, adding that three of the four finalists have county, as well as city, experience.

"I feel really good that out of the four, we will be able to find one who really best fits the culture as well as the technical needs of Nobles County," Sethi said. "The idea is to find somebody who fits well within the existing management framework ... so they can really quickly become a part of the team; at the same time, who have experience in local government and budgeting areas so they can hit the ground running.

"I think all four of them have the potential of doing that," he added.

Sethi, who was initially retained as the interim county administrator through the end of this year, has agreed to a contract extension through the end of February. If an applicant is hired and able to start work earlier that month, the county agreed Sethi could leave his post early.

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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