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Crow Wing County board approves out-of-state travel

Crow Wing County commissioners approved out-of-state travel after an extended discussion Tuesday.

Jay Sikkink, information technology (IT) director, was sought approval to send Ted Goggleye, service desk lead, to Microsoft’s annual technology conference in May in Houston. Spending for the trip, estimated between $4,000 and $5,000, would come from the IT budget.

Commissioner Paul Koering asked if the idea was to send a staff member to this kind of conference because they could then come back and train others. Sikkink said the knowledge is passed on as people in the office are mentored and information shared informally at weekly team meetings. Koering said he’d like to see them come back and give some kind of presentation to the rest of the staff.

Administrator Tim Houle said that has been the case as they’ve listed top three items gained from keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom said she imagines training in this department is critical or they’d still be operating in DOS, the disk operating system that once dominated the market. Nystrom said she has full confidence in the county’s senior managers and would like Sikkink to make the decision on whether the training was needed. The board approved the travel.

In other business, the county:

Approved hiring: three seasonal recreational assistants for the sheriff’s office and two seasonal boat and water deputies, three seasonal survey aides for land services and an environmental services intern in land services, a seasonal watercraft inspection coordinator. Trevor Kruse was hired as a technical support intern as of March 17. Noted Janna Congdon, technical/administration coordinator in the auditor-treasurer’s office is leaving the county as of March 31.

Approved a new tobacco license application for Buy-Sell-Trade in Crosby.

Awarded a contract for County Highway 48, county roads 117 and 119 and Love Lake Road to low-bidder Anderson Brothers with $994,734. The engineer’s estimate was $1,022,041. Construction is expected to begin in June and be complete by Aug. 23.

Awarded a contract for annual pavement markings to low-bidder Crow Wing County and Traffic Marking Services for $150,770 to do annual pavement markings on county highways, roads and township roads. Engineer’s estimate was $163,347.

Approved sending representation to the 36th annual meeting of the National Joint Powers Alliance April 9 at the Gull Lake Center at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.

Noted the Upper Mississippi Headwaters prioritization planning meeting April 2 at Chase on the Lake in Walker.

Met in closed session for labor negotiations. The board later met in open session and announced a settlement in principle with the Law Enforcement Labor Services bargaining group representing 911 communication officers. The agreement increased the grievance response time from 10 to 20 working days to reduce time pressure on investigating. The union agreed to add standard insurance language for the single family option in the insurance. Added post-incident drug and alcohol testing. Added a 1.3 percent wage increase for roughly 36 percent of staff on the step system, noting the other staff members are at their maximum step so there was no wage adjustment for those individuals.

Heard in committee reports from Chairwoman Rosemary Franzen that she was impressed with work done on the plan to revamp the Brainerd Area Civic Center, which started with the need to add an elevator to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Met in closed session for performance reviews with Tami Laska, human resource director, and Kara Terry, community services director.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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