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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • John Hocker hired at Madelia Library

  • “He seemed like the best of the best – one didn’t show and the other decided she couldn’t handle the hours.”
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  • The Watonwan County Board approved John Hocker as the Madelia branch library assistant at the regularly scheduled Feb. 19 meeting.
    Hocker is a retired man from Truman, Minn., and has worked as a law clerk in the past. There were three other individuals interviewing for the position.
    “He seemed like the best of the best – one didn’t show and the other decided she couldn’t handle the hours,” said Commissioner Dave Holmgren explaining his decision.
    Carol Johnson, the Watownan County Treasurer requested to attended the Regional MACATFO Meeting on Feb. 27. There wasn’t much hesitation in allowing her to go, though it was noted that she is retiring, so training doesn’t seem necessary.
    “She is the retiring treasurer, but the cost is minimal,” said Commissioner Mark Rentz.
    The board approved her request unanimously, citing it will be nice for her to say good byes and there are five other treasurers retiring this year. The cost for the trip will be $35.
    County Attorney Stephen Lindee was also approved to attended training in Plymouth, Minn.This will involve eight work hours but zero registration and tuition costs to the county.
    The sheriff and auditor credit payments were approved unanimously along with the payment of January bills and financials and minutes from previous meetings. There was one issue with a bill, but it was a clerical problem which was quickly fixed.
    Michael Wacker submitted his resignation as the Watonwan County Assessor, effective March 8, 2013, at the Tuesday meeting. Wacker will be leaving Watonwan County for a position in Pope County. There was some discussion the possibility of merging his position with another position at the court house.
    “A Combination is fine, but I see it as more of a way to enhance compensation for the assessor – to get a senior level assessor in Watonwan County,” said Auditor Don Kuhlman, who believes an individual position will attract better auditors for the county.
    Watonwan County will be advertising to fill the position.
    Roger Risser, public works director, appeared at the board meeting to give his February updates.
    The board approved the internal advertising for a position which opened up when Doug Jones filled Mark Hagen’s route. This internal personnel change has been ongoing and was described by Risser as “a musical chairs situation.”
    The authorized work for others through January 2013 was presented to the Watonwan County Board, but there was nothing out of the ordinary with the bills.
    All bids received for annual supply of diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline were rejected at the Feb. 19 meeting.
    “There is more of a chance of this going down than up, so I make a motion to decline all bids – but thanks everyone for the bids,” said Commissioner Scott Sanders.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Watonwan County Board also accepted bids to replace the bridge over Watonwan River on Highway 32. The lowest bid came from Prahm construction, but the commissioners were hesitant to accept the bid on the basis that Prahm was reportedly one of the supervisors in the Highway 4 project which went well past the scheduled completion date.
    “It wouldn’t be prudent to me as a commissioner to award someone with work on that bridge with this new project,” said Sanders.
    Other business:
    A resolution to update the Watonwan county comprehensive water management plan was tabled for the March meeting.
    The St. James Planning Commission is reviewing the use of Marian Hall for commercial purposes.
    The Watonwan County Board will be accepting bid proposals for the design of bridge modification on Highway 4 over Highway 60.
    County Road 108 may be transfering to Martin County.

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