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Hubbard board may fill coordinator position internally

Three internal candidates have applied to fill the position vacated by retired Hubbard County coordinator Jack Paul.

Those three include his longtime assistant Debbie Thompson, county recorder Nicole Lueth and Mikal Boettcher, a sign technician/maintenance worker at the county's highway department.

The three will be interviewed by county commissioners at the Dec. 15 board meeting. A decision is expected shortly after that.

Paul retired Nov. 30 after 11 years. Commissioners learned of the applicants at Wednesday's board meeting.

In other action, the board:

n Nominated Greg Larson to be next year's board chair, succeeding Lyle Robinson, who has held the post for two years. Larson is the former county attorney who just won re-election to a second term in Dist. 3.

Robinson had one suggestion for his successor: Have the county purchase a cell phone for the board chair.

Robinson said he got so many calls he used and exceeded his own personal minutes attending to county business.

Larson, however, does not have a cell phone. He suggested people call his law office.

n Approved a 2 percent increase for the Developmental Achievement Center recycling contract, which employs 100 people salvaging county leftovers.

Director Ed Ranson said all three DAC commercial ventures, the Bearly Used Thrift Store, the Tin Ceiling collectible store and the recently opened Salvage Depot, which deals in used construction materials and furniture, are doing well.

"We get around $250,000 a year from the stores," he told the board. "As much as possible we want the programs to be self-supportive."

He said the revenues pay developmentally disabled individuals a decent wage and "keeps them busy."

Outgoing commissioner Don Carlson commented those wages turn over many times in the local community, and he sees the DAC ventures as assets to the county.

The board also entered into contracts to dispose of tires, scrap metal, batteries, appliances and fluorescent tubes.

n Approved keeping the position of chief deputy in the county. Sheriff-elect Cory Aukes came before the board asking for approval to appoint Park Rapids police officer Scott Parks his chief deputy, so Parks could have some job stability resigning from the city.

But commissioners said because Aukes hasn't taken office yet and the sheriff does the hiring, it would be premature micromanaging the department to gives Parks such assurances.

Instead, the board gave approval to fill the position and let Aukes decide whom to fill it with.

n Approved minor modifications to the job offer to Mark Lohmeier, the candidate to succeed land commissioner Bob Hoffman.

Lohmeier will start at Step 3 on the pay scale, not Step 1, and advance to Step 6 following a satisfactory six-month review.

n Heard a presentation from the Veterans Service Office that business is growing two-fold and could triple by next year.

VSO Greg Remus has been doing a lot of outreach work throughout the county and education to let vets know what their benefits are, which has resulted in increasing numbers of vets coming to the Park Rapids office.

In 2009, local vets received $10+ million in benefits, which Remus hopes will double this year.

Commissioners once again patted themselves on the back for hiring Remus, who has been with the county for a little over a year and instituted a drastic turnaround of the struggling VSO.

n Filled numerous committee assignments with incoming board member Kathy Grell, who defeated Carlson in his bid for re-election and shuffled around some committee assignments.

Sarah Smith

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

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