The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners spoke on Tuesday of plans to replace two open leadership positions in the county.
Regarding the first, for the position of county assessor, human resources director Candace Pesch said the state auditor-treasurer by state statute has 90 days to appoint someone at least as an interim after the resignation of assessor Jaci Koeppen.
They reached out to the most senior employee in the appraiser’s office to gauge their interest, and that person said they weren’t interested in the long term but might be interested in the short term. It is also possible to contract with another county if the staff member is not interested until the county is able to hire a permanent assessor. Auditor-Treasurer Pat Martinson previously said that when that position went unfilled, the county entered into a contract with a neighboring county for a time.
Pesch said they are also reviewing salaries for the position to ensure the county is offering fair wages. They will review the market in the county and follow a hiring process similar to that used in the past, including posting the position in an advertisement and interviewing applicants with the personnel committee.
Departmental administrator position
The board also discussed how they would like to proceed with the search for a permanent director.
Jan Fransen, who was approved as interim director last week, asked the board if they wanted to hire a director through a search firm or do the search in-house.
She suggested contacting a few recruiting firms and asking them to submit proposals to the board. She said she’s seen successful searches conducted with and without companies, but companies may be able to get a wider pool of candidates.
Pesch said one of the benefits of a search firm is that early selections of candidates are made before the board receives a list of finalists.
“That groundwork is done for you before you even see these candidates,” she said.
Commissioner Brad Edwin asked what the search process would look like and wondered if all members of council would be involved in the interview process or if it would just be the personnel committee which has two commissioners, as in the recent interviews for the recorder. position.
Pesch and Chief Financial Officer Pat Paquin said there could be a public meeting with the public for interviews or small interviews with two board members at a time. Pesch said there is usually also a county tour and meeting with department heads.
Fransen said a research firm will have tools they can use, including psychological questionnaires, initial video interviews and other means of questioning.
She also asked if the board wanted to continue the search process or if they wanted to wait until after the November election so whoever was elected could choose the new trustee.
The position is open after the resignation of former administrator Tom Jensen. He held this position until the middle of the month.
She said she hoped to have more information by July 12.