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Crow Wing County Board: Board completes department head performance reviews

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday released a summary of its performance reviews of the county administrator and department heads. The annual reviews were conducted in closed session during the board's March meetings. Closure of the meeting is pe...

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday released a summary of its performance reviews of the county administrator and department heads.

The annual reviews were conducted in closed session during the board's March meetings. Closure of the meeting is permitted by Minnesota's Open Meeting Law to "evaluate the performance of an individual who is subject to its authority." The law requires the public body to summarize its evaluation conclusions at its next open meeting.

• County Administrator Tim Houle received a "performing" rating, reflective of highly effective performance. "Notable accomplishments include Administrator Houle's leadership of multiple integration projects, his work in the areas of performance and financial management, all having the desired impact of improving service and reducing costs," the summary stated.

• County Engineer Tim Bray received a "performing" rating, reflective of highly effective performance. "Notable accomplishments include County Engineer Bray's leadership of the transportation advisory board and significant work in improving the county transportation infrastructure, specifically through the strategic use of sales tax resources to expand our road construction and maintenance efforts."

• Administrative Services Director Deborah Erickson received a "performing" rating, reflective of highly effective performance. "Notable accomplishments include Director Erickson's leadership of the 2016 election process and her leadership in the administrative services integration, specifically developing a new interactive department of internal service functions operating more in concert with each other."

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• Human Resource Director Tamra Laska received a "performing" rating, reflective of highly effective performance. "Notable accomplishments include Director Laska's management of the county's compensation and benefit programs as well as her work in the labor relations area. Director Laska also directed the completion of a current market study and rate adjustments process for the entire organization."

• Former Land Services Director Mark Liedl received a "performing" rating, reflective of highly effective performance. "Notable accomplishments include Director Liedl's leadership in the integration of the document recording, vital records, taxpayer and land services functions and the resulting impact of improved customer service and reduced costs. Director Liedl also developed the original project plans for the replacement of our legacy tax and assessment data systems."

• Community Services Director Kara Terry received an "outperforming" rating, reflective of exceptional performance. "Notable accomplishments include Director Terry's leadership in developing a county-based community corrections program for Crow Wing County where there had been no in-house program before and managing the launch of that function, including 13 new hires, without any substantial drops in public safety during the transition. In addition, Director Terry was also noted for her community outreach, work with key stakeholders and staff development efforts."

• Veterans Service Officer Bob Nelson received an "underperforming" rating due to missed grant management and reporting deadlines and requirements, which put Crow Wing County in jeopardy of losing Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs grant eligibility, as well as insufficient progress relating to 2016 performance goals, the summary stated. "VSO Nelson was recognized for his continued effective advocacy on behalf of Crow Wing County veterans to tap into the appropriate benefits due to them related to their military service."

In other business, the county board:

Approved a budget amendment for the aquatic invasive species budget. About $35,000 in unspent funds from previous years will be dedicated to two purposes: $5,500 will be used to provide equipment needed for AIS inspectors, and $30,000 will be used for collaborative projects with the Mississippi Headwaters Board and other regionally significant projects. The funds, provided by the state, can only be used for AIS prevention.

Set the tax-forfeited land sale for 10 a.m. May 12 in the land services building. The list of properties for sale was also approved.

Entered a contract with Morris Seal Coat and Trucking for seal coating work throughout the county.

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Approved the hiring of Marcus Cadena, senior analyst in information technology, and Amber Wimmer, senior technical/administrative specialist in the sheriff's office.

Approved the transfer of Abby Eggum from a financial worker in community services to human resource assistant in human resource. The board approved replacement staffing for the financial worker position.

Accepted the departures of Danielle Ustruck, executive assistant/media specialist for the county administrator, and Karen McKenna, accounting technician in community services. Replacement staffing for these two positions was approved, along with replacement staffing for a maintenance technician in facilities.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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