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Nobles County Administrator announces retirement

Tom Johnson served the county for the past eight years.

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Johnson

WORTHINGTON — Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson announced his retirement, effective April 30, following a closed session with commissioners Tuesday morning. Upon reopening the meeting, the board “regrettably” accepted the notice.

Johnson has served as the county’s administrator since February 2013, leading county employees and guiding the board of commissioners. Prior to his move to Nobles County, the St. James native worked in Colorado.

Mass vaccination clinics

Community Services Director Stacie Golombiecki requested commissioners authorize Memorandums of Agreement with various entities who would be willing to be a host site for mass vaccination clinics for COVID-19, once a larger amount of vaccine is available within the county.

Golombiecki said her staff has reached out to schools, churches and other facilities, such as event centers and fire halls, in preparation for events.

“We want to be ready right away to do a mass vaccination clinic,” Golombiecki said, adding that they sought locations that provided plenty of parking, space for social distancing and wi-fi for entering data into the computer.

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The board authorized the agreements, which will remain in effect until terminated by either party.

COVID Relief payments

Also on Tuesday, commissioners authorized $426,672 in COVID Relief funds to 76 different businesses that had applied during the latest round of funding offered by the county. The recipients were primarily hospitality-related businesses, including several hotels, bars and restaurants, in-home daycares, salons and others.

In other action, the board:

  • Adopted a resolution to close a 106-year-old township bridge on a dead-end road in Westside Township, a mile west of Adrian. The resolution paves the way for funding from the state aid town bridge account. Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said rather than construct a new bridge over Kanaranzi Creek to access a 50-acre parcel of farmland, he is working on a potential agreement for the landowner to use an alternate route. This would be a less costly solution, at roughly $130,000 to remove the existing bridge, create a new roadway and purchase right-of-way property.

“The state is willing to pay 100% of the project since we’re not putting a new bridge in,” Schnieder said.

  • Approved one-year contracts with Teamsters Local 320 (courthouse/library) Union, AFSCME (public health) Union and Teamsters Local 320 (jail sergeant) Union.

  • Voted to exclude rural properties from the redetermination of benefits on County Ditch 6, as the cost to include them would far exceed the amount of revenue that could be generated through the assessment.

  • Presented the February Excellence in Performance award to Diane Vogt, Deputy Auditor/Treasurer working in taxes, records and elections.

  • Adopted a set of core values for the county, as developed by the Employee Empowerment Team. The values include: Flexibility and work life balance; trust, honesty, transparency, integrity and respect; and belonging, valued and appreciated.

  • Tabled a request to authorize $10,750 to fund tube heating to reach two restrooms and a hallway in the newly renovated Data Center. The work was missed by the engineering firm that led the renovation project. Administration was directed to negotiate the costs with the engineer.

  • Set 6 p.m. June 15 for the county’s board of equalization meeting.

  • Approved an agreement for translation services with WellShare International. The service provides translation of materials, which is something the county will need once vaccination clinics are being planned. The service will be funded by a UCare grant the county received specifically for translation.

  • Approved the temporary reclassification of the county’s environmental assistance, due to the resignation of the cost accountant position in the public works department. The environmental assistant has taken on some of those duties, and will be reimbursed at a higher hourly rate, retroactive to Jan. 1 and until the position is filled.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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