Serving the public

Published 11:38 pm Monday, July 10, 2017

County recorder wearing 2 hats as recorder, interim administrator

Having one full-time job can be a difficult task. Freeborn County Recorder and Registrar of Titles Kelly Callahan is assuming a second major job to help Freeborn County while officials try to hire a full-time county administrator.

Callahan, 62, was named interim Freeborn County administrator in early May after John Kluever resigned from the position a day after being arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Albert Lea.

In addition to administrative duties he now temporarily has, Callahan has more than 15 years of experience as county recorder. As recorder, Callahan is responsible for all real estate records in Freeborn County. He oversees birth, death and marriage records and conducts other services for the public, such as allowing letters of ordination for ministers and federal and state tax filings through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office.

Callahan said he enjoys that no two days are the same in his position.

“It’s the variety,” he said. “I always tell my wife I accomplish something every day I go to work. It isn’t always necessarily what I intended to do, but I always get something done. It’s the variety — I like that. It’s not the same routine over and over and over again. You never know what is going to come up.”

Callahan said he enjoys working with real estate matters, noting his dad was a real estate auctioneer and an appraiser when interstates 35 and 90 began to cross the region. He said he has noticed major advances in technology since he began as county recorder in 2000.

“More and more, you are seeing that across Minnesota,” he said.

Freeborn County has implemented Beacon, which tracks property records online, thanks to Callahan using technology funds.

“I think we have done a good job in Freeborn County on spending that money appropriately,” he said. 

Callahan and his wife, Susan, have two children, Patrick, 36, and Erin, 32. He enjoys antiques and collectibles, as well as chess — he was a professional chess player while attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Callahan attended Hamline University School of Law, and he was a lawyer in Albert Lea for 20 years. This is the third time Callahan has temporarily assumed the administrator position — twice he has been named interim county administrator, and he was named acting county administrator in March 2016 when Kluever was placed on temporary leave.

Callahan has been elected county recorder four times. He said he enjoys the public service aspect of his position.

“I’ve had a half dozen opportunities to leave here over the years,” he said. “In every case, it would have been more money than I get paid, but I’m into the public service component. I believe that’s where I am at, and that’s why I am around still, to serve the public.”

Kelly Callahan

Age: 62

Address: Albert Lea

Livelihood: Freeborn County recorder and registrar of titles, interim Freeborn County administrator

Family: wife, Susan, and two children, Patrick, 36, and Erin, 32.

Interesting fact: Callahan was a professional chess player while in college at University of Minnesota-Duluth

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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