County board votes 3-2 to offer administrator’s job to Baker

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Swift County’s Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 in a special meeting Friday to offer the position of county administrator to Kelsey Baker after its first choice for the job turned it down.

Larry Timmerman, the senior program evaluator for Ramsey County Health & Wellness/Economic Growth and Community Investment, turned the job down last week after the county board voted 3-2 to offer him the administrator’s job.

In a letter to the board, Timmerman said that at this time the offer was not in the best interests of his family, the most important people to him. He added that knowing at least two of the commissioners preferred Ms. Baker he hoped that the entire board would

support her application for the job.
Baker has been the executive director of The Legends at Heritage Place in Sartell, a facility offering assisted living, memory care and independent living options for the past year. Prior to that she served as the marketing and communications specialist for the State of South Dakota from 2012 to 2016. She was the marketing/executive assistant for the South Dakota Housing Development Authority from 2010 to 2012.

Commissioners Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson, and Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, voted in favor of Timmerman at the board’s Jan. 17 meeting. However, Commissioners Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, and Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson, favored Baker. Pederson joined Rudningen and Peterson in Friday’s vote for Baker.

With Fox saying he could support Baker should Timmerman turn down the job, it was thought that Friday’s special meeting would be over in minutes and likely result in a unanimous vote to hire her. However, prior to the board’s Friday meeting another candidate let the board know he would be interested in applying.

Because the candidate was only inquiring about whether or not he should enter the application process, the county board did not reveal his name as a candidate. However, the person apparently had considerably more public administrative experience that led some on the board to say he should be interviewed.

It was pointed out that the county board did not set any date for closing the application process for the county administrator’s job. Rather, applications would be cut off when the position was filled.

Peterson said he recognized that the county board had left the process open, however, a majority of board members had supported Baker as their candidate after Timmerman. If the motion passed Jan. 17 would she have said she be offered the job if Timmerman turned it down, that motion would have likely passed, he said....


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