County board slated to vote on appointing Rasmusson as administrator in next meeting

Published 4:42 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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The chairman of the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday stated the board has found interim Administrator Ryan Rasmusson to be doing well in his role. The remarks came after the board had a closed session Monday to review his performance.

“We’re going to have discussions on furthering him in this position,” said Board Chairman John Forman.

The board’s agenda for its meeting next Tuesday, sent out Wednesday afternoon, states the board is slated to consider appointing Rasmusson as administrator at that time.

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Rasmusson, who is also the county assessor, has served as interim administrator since May, following the termination of former Administrator Candace Pesch.

The commissioners in recent weeks have brought up again how to fill the administrator position — whether to reopen the search for candidates or to move Rasmusson into the permanent position.

The board has worked with South Central Service Cooperative of North Mankato since July 2022 after the resignation of former Administrator Tom Jensen and the subsequent hiring of Candace Pesch for the role. It then continued working with the firm after the board parted ways with Pesch in April after less than six months.

The firm started a new search for candidates, but after three out of the five most qualified candidates for the position withdrew their names for the position, the county in July opted to suspend the search. Rasmusson was one of the two remaining candidates and had scored high amongst the candidates for leadership and management, understands the organization and is established in the role, a representative with the firm said at the board’s workshop last week.

Another action item on the agenda for Tuesday is for the board to consider a resolution appointing the county administrator as the department head of the county assessor’s office.

It will also consider a resolution promoting Erin Hornberger to the Human Resources manager position. She has served as interim in the role since May.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved sponsoring Bancroft Township’s application for funding through the Local Road Improvement Program. The township’s project involves paving the approaches at a railroad crossing on a township road.

County Highway Engineer Phillip Wacholz said the state approved $100 million in local road improvement money in 2023 and is soliciting applications from counties, townships and small towns for projects solving transportation deficiencies.

The board at a prior meeting approved sponsoring a handful of other towns and townships for the funding and is also putting in an application for a county project.

If the towns or townships are awarded, the county will act as the fiscal agent for the funds.

  • Set the annual household solid waste fee at $66 for Albert Lea residents and $57 for rural county residents. Fees will cover an increase in the Waste Management service contract, which will be about $714,000 for 2024.
  • Approved out-of-state travel for Highway Engineer Phillip Wacholz to attend the National Association of County Engineers annual conference in Palm Springs, California April 15 to 18, 2024.
  • Approved out-of-state travel for Finance Manager Pat Paquin to attend the National Government Financial Officers Association Conference in Orlando from June 8 to 13, 2024.
  • Accepted a grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services for almost $49,000, which will go toward performing mental health screenings and to make referrals for assessment and treatment of mental health needs in children and youth.

Human Services Director Suzi Nerison said the screenings are completed for youth receiving specific services through the Human Services and Probation and Pretrial Services Departments.

  • Accepted a $210 donation for the Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center from the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 2258.