During their meeting Tuesday, the Watonwan County Board of Commissioners approved the hire of Amanda Burmeister as office manager/accountant for the public works department.

Before ultimately approving her, however, things grew contentious, with board members and others sparring over her qualifications.

Burmeister has been office manager and accountant at Militello Motors in Fairmont for five years, and she worked for Dewar Electric for 13 as a payroll and benefits clerk. Her references indicated she is a “go-getter,” a very good worker, pleasant to be around, and puts customers at ease with a jovial personality.

She was one of six interviewed. Out of 28 applicants, 22 qualified for consideration.

“I personally thought she was the best candidate of the ones we interviewed,” said Mark Rentz, chairman of the board. “A lot of that position is going to be people skills, and she just shined at that. I feel very strongly about this candidate.”

Both Roger Risser, public works director, and Lisa Schumann, personnel, spoke glowingly, as well.

But, commissioner Ray Gustafson said he didn’t think she was qualified for the accounting aspect, although, “she does have a dynamic personality and a lot of experience.”

Commissioners Scott Sanders and Kathleen Svalland also both expressed doubts, and the discussion among the group grew heated. Ultimately, however, the hire was approved 4-1, with only Gustafson opposed.

For the rest of the recap of Tuesday's meeting, please see the July 17 print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.