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home : news : news
July 18, 2019

7/11/2019 1:38:00 PM
Interim county administrator duo named

On the heels of Chisago County Administrator Bruce Messelt’s announcement that he’s in line to become administrator at Sherburne County,  the commissioners last week assigned assistant county administrator Chase Burnham and Human Resources Director Renee Kirchner to serve as administrator in Messelt’s place until a new administrator can be hired here.  Messelt came to Chisago County about eight years ago.  He plans to be in Sherburne in September-- and he has some un-used leave here so commissioners needed to take action on interim coverage of the administrator position.

There is also a process approved to find a professional placement consulting firm (Requests for Quotes) which will assist in finding candidates for a permanent Chisago County administrator.

The Chisago County Board put no deadline on having a new fulltime administrator on-board.

Commissioners also took turns expressing their well wishes.  George McMahon said last week, “Sherburne County is getting a real prize.”

Mike Robinson added that the “hardest” part in public service is dealing with the people, and “the hiring and firing”  and told Messelt he has done a great job. “We are going to miss you.”

Ben Montzka applauded Messelt’s ability to crunch numbers and look at the big picture.  Montzka said without having had Messelt to quantify and analyze budgets “...it might not have happened” referring to keeping levy hikes under control, and still meeting mandates. Montzka concluded, “Thanks for sharing eight years of your life with us.”

Commissioner Chris DuBose, who only just took office in January 2019  thanked Messelt for his generous sharing of background on issues that helped DuBose get settled.

Chair Rick Greene stated, “The county wouldn’t be in the (fiscal) shape it is without you.”

Back to work
Appropriately the Board went over a few budget scenarios based on various levy actions to guage the financial impact as decisions exponentially increase over four years’ time.  Wage hikes of two or three precent Cost of Living, coupled with Step  increases and healthcare grow if more staff are added and as people work longer.  Adjusted for revenue staying the same, and fuel getting more expensive...the county total expenditures and revenue stay about equal.  If there’s a bigger wage change, or an unexpected loss in revenue or any number of outside impacts, the county’s revenues and expenditures show an ever-increasing gap-- without a levy hike.   If personnel would increase six or seven percent, the levy would have to be raised to fill in a $10 million gap. for example.

The analysis concludes that “modest” revenue increases are called for to offset anticipated expenses. The office-holders need to avoid growth in any program where expenses for debt (ie: jail) shuld be “constrained” for as long as feasible.



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