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Incoming, outgoing Hubbard County staff recognized

Wednesday was a day of hellos and goodbyes at the Hubbard County board meeting.

Commissioners consoled Sheriff Frank Homer on his election loss earlier this month. Homer seemed in good spirits and told the board he will take some time to do some "soul searching" while putting out feelers on a new job.

His appointment with Hubbard County ends Dec. 31. His chief deputy Jerry Tatro also leaves office that day.

Tatro was hired in March 1985. He had tendered his resignation, notification of pending retirement, in October.

Homer thanked Tatro for helping him get the law enforcement budget under control.

"We had a lot of good things happen," Homer acknowledged.

Tatro's "stern basic attitude" and knack for keeping the department's equipment budget trimmed was useful, Homer said.

"I owe a lot to Jerry for that," he added.

Homer and commissioner Don Carlson commiserated, "We never got to have that party."

Carlson lost his bid for a second term to Park Rapids businesswoman Kathy Grell.

He has taken ribbing from fellow commissioners in good stride, laughing when Cal Johannsen asked him, "Haven't you left yet?"

Carlson relinquished his reservation for the upcoming Association of Minnesota Counties annual convention so that Grell could attend.

"I'm doing fine," Carlson said.

Homer said he has a meeting with state retirement personnel Monday and that should give him some guidance for the future.

He has been a county employee in Hubbard and Cass counties for most of his career.

The county also reached an agreement with Mark Lohmeier to become the new Land Commissioner. He will start work in late December, replacing Bob Hoffman, who retired last month.

Lohmeier is Becker County's equivalent land and parks commissioner and a former employee of Hubbard County.

He will begin at Step 1 on the salary scale, then be elevated to Step 6 if his six-month probationary review is satisfactory. That puts him closer to his Becker County salary, commissioners noted. He will also accrue 15 days of vacation annually as of the date of his hire, not the 10 days most new employees get.

The county also met the new Community Health Manager, who was introduced as "the old" Community Health Manager.

"Former," corrected RaeAnn Mayer to peals of laughter. Mayer succeeds Chris Broeker, who succeeded Mayer several years ago.

Mayer has been working on a State Health Improvement Program grant, which she said will be completed this week.

It focuses on health and wellness programs to cut smoking rates and curb obesity.

Broeker has taken a new job with St. Joseph's Area Health Services, which administers the county health program.

The women brought good news about the flu. It's much less pervasive than it was this time last year, they said.

In other news the board:

n Agreed to raise the solid waste assessment by 5 percent for 2011.

"We usually bump it a little bit every year but we didn't last year," said Solid Waste Superintendent Vern Massie.

n Referred another environmental violation in District 1 for prosecution of a homeowner who has added multiple structures without a permit.

n Elevated part-time jailer/dispatchers Jocelyn Steffen and Joe Rittgers to full-time status to fill two openings.

n Agreed to post the county coordinator position internally. Current coordinator Jack Paul is retiring the end of this month.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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