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Nobles County's finance director to retire

Jerry Vyskocil will complete his 29th year with Nobles County when he retires Thursday from his role as finance director. A retirement celebration is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Farmers Room of the Nobles County Government Center.

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Nobles County Finance Director Jerry Vyskocil will retire Thursday after 29 years working for the county. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — After a 29-year career with Nobles County, finance director Jerry Vyskocil is replacing his calculator and budget books with a GPS and a bucket list as he heads into retirement next week.

He and his wife, Margaret, plan to spend their winter in Nevada and continue to check off their list as they tour national parks across the country.

The Vyskocils have called Worthington home since 1991. They raised four children here and spent 29 years as licensed foster parents, caring primarily for special needs children.

While they are planning to escape Minnesota winters, Vyskocil said they will be back when the snow melts. After all, their family is here — a son in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and daughters in Canby, Milroy and Worthington. They have 13 grandchildren.

A retirement party in Vyskocil’s honor is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, in the Farmer’s Room of the Nobles County Government Center.

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Vyskocil began his career with Nobles County in early November 1990 when he was hired as chief deputy auditor/data processing coordinator.

Born and raised in Montgomery, Vyskocil left Minnesota in 1971. He was in San Francisco, Calif., just back from the war in Vietnam, when he met his future bride, Margaret. A Boston girl, she was in San Francisco to see her brother, who'd also just returned from war. After the couple married, they resided in Boston until 1979. Then, in search of a slower paced lifestyle, they moved to southwest Minnesota to be closer to his brother in Worthington.

Vyskocil found work as an electronics technician at Sperry in Jackson and took college classes part-time in hopes of positioning himself for advancement opportunities within the company. It was the mid-1980s, and there had been a lot of hostile takeovers in the business world. When Sperry was bought out, the Jackson location closed and Vyskocil was left looking for work.

By then, he’d earned a degree in business and finance.

After doing a couple of odd jobs — including working as a television repairman — Vyskocil saw that Nobles County was hiring. With continued concerns about the business climate, he thought it would be a good move.

The majority of the job in the auditor’s office back then involved working with financials, Vyskocil said. The data processing was primarily looking after the county’s single mainframe computer. There was one big printer that the auditor-treasurer and assessor’s offices shared, and only a few desktop computers existed in the department, he recalled.

After about three years in the job, and following the retirement of former auditor Ken Roberts, Vyskocil took on a new role with Nobles County. He moved into the family services department — at that time in offices across the street from the government center — and handled the financials for the agency.

“I stayed in that department until 2013,” he said. “That’s when they created the finance department — separate from the auditor-treasurer’s office.”

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Vyskocil, who had already been working with then auditor-treasurer Sharon Balster for more than a decade on specific tasks like preparing the audit, was a logical choice to become finance director.

Now, six years later, he is grateful for the opportunities he had, appreciative of the challenges and thankful to have worked with some great people during his tenure.

“All of my coworkers have been really great,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most.

“It’s never been boring. If you think things are boring, wait until the next election and you get new commissioners in here.”

Vyskocil said working in finance is a challenge because the county is trying to be good stewards of public dollars. Transitioning from working in the private sector — where everything is about the bottom line and profits — to the public sector was difficult, he admitted.

“(In the county), it’s not profit and losses, it’s fund balances.”

As Vyskocil eyes his last days in the finance department, he said he is going to miss it — particularly some of the changes that he’s helped shaped.

Advertising is under way for his job, but with a recent assessment of the department by Clifton Larson Allen, there may be some tweaking.

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“We have pretty much taken over payroll and warrants, and we’re in the process of taking over check reconciliation,” Vyskocil said. “The goal is, by the time we’re done, the only thing left in the auditor’s office (related to finance) is taking in cash payments.

“That’s my goal — I don’t know if that will be the board’s goal,” he added.

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Nobles County Finance Director Jerry Vyskocil will retire Thursday after 29 years working for the county. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)

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