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July 18, 2019

7/5/2019 1:19:00 PM
Summer assignment for Commissioners; find replacement for County Administrator

The view out of his office window isn’t the only thing that will be different for Chisago County Administrator Bruce Messelt come September.  His administrative challenges are going to change dramatically, in his role as the new administrator for Sherburne County.  Messelt  heard last week, just a couple days after his interview as one of five finalists, that he was the top choice of the Sherburne County Board. All that needs to happen is dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s in a contract.

This week’s Chisago County Board meeting is a little too short notice to make any moves on finding a successor, but the Chisago County Board will have to deal with this eventually.  

Messelt has been here approximately eight years and there are multiple initiatives with momentum that need shepherding, among these are Highway 8 and bike trail network completion.  The new Chisago County public safety center was opened, and that was one major task for county staff and Chisago as a whole, Messelt observed.  Now, the old jail and accompanying “historic” telephone building on lots in Center City are to be marketed and redeveloped.

Sherburne County recently built a new government center, so that’s one project Messelt won’t be faced with.  Messelt explained that the administrator’s office there is not lakeside-- but it’s near enough to appreciate the scenery of the Mississippi River.  The population is about twice that of Chisago’s and Chisago County’s budget is way less than what Messelt will be overseeing in Sherburne County.

Upcoming career challenges could be related to Sherco plants being phased out, with one peaking plant replacing them,  and related county tax revenue adjustments. The Highway 10 corridor in Sherburne County is a major growth area and Messelt is excited for economic development in this slightly more “metro” oriented county.  There’s Princeton in one corner and the stand alone municipal center of St Cloud on the other side. Messelt says he envisions working to  find ways for Sherburne’s communities to become a little more “connected.”   

It’s up to the Chisago County Board if an interim county administrator is put in place or a consulting firm brought on board to locate a successor.  Messelt points out that Chisago has longtime department heads it can rely on, in Auditor/Treasurer Freed, Engineer Triplett, MICS Department head Eckel,  and others.

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