Next administrator could be current county employee

Published 9:11 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The next Freeborn County administrator could be a current county employee.

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved interviewing Brian Buhmann, Human Services director; Sue Miller, Public Works director; Tom Jensen, Court Services director; Ryan Rasmusson, Freeborn County assessor; and James Everhart, court security officer.

The candidates applied for the position, and the board’s vote came one week after six administrator candidates visited Freeborn County last week to interview for the position:

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Shaun LaDue, former West Des Moines chief of police.

Gail Levorson, who as of last month was a graduate assistant in e-learning at Bemidji State University, owner and manager at North Central Development Services and city clerk for the city of Sebeka.

Tom Burke, former Aitkin County Health and Human Services director.

Laura Elvebak, who as of last month was a public sector management consultant and former administrator in Steele and Waseca counties.

Ken Osmonson, whose most recent work experience as of last month was North American operations manager for Valicor. A southern Minnesota native, Osmonson recently moved back to the area.

Tom Meyer, coordinator and attorney for the city of Manly, Iowa.

After the meeting, interim Freeborn County Administrator Kelly Callahan said the commissioners’ decision to pursue an internal search does not mean an outside candidate will not be hired. He cited a Tribune article last month that reported LaDue, Burke and Elvebak resigned from their previous positions in the last year for various reasons.

“There was maybe a couple that we should have not had in the process,” Callahan said. “I thought overall, interview-wise, I thought most of them did a pretty good job in that regard. Some of them had baggage … and I think going forward, I don’t know that there was a majority of the board that had one person in mind, and that’s why they decided to back up and open it back up and talk internally to the folks in the county.”

A time when the interviews would take place was not set, and Callahan said the board’s decision “was appropriate on the board’s part, given our circumstances.”

District 5 Commissioner Mike Lee said he supported conducting in-house interviews.

“They’ve been with the county for a long time, so I think it’s just the right thing to do to ask them — take a look at them, anyway,” he said. “And then we go back and decide what to do from there.”

Lee also said the board could still hire one of the six outside candidates.

“We haven’t closed the book on anything, yet,” he said. “We’ll see.”

Look for more from Tuesday’s meeting in Thursday’s Tribune.

About Sam Wilmes

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

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