County Board approves Baker contract 5-0

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Though Swift County’s Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to hire Kelsey Baker as the new county administrator, they were unanimous last Tuesday in approving the contract for her employment.

Baker has agreed to a salary of $89,627. She will be provided the same group hospital, medical, dental, life and disability insurance benefits as provided to all other non-union employees. She is being paid a moving allowance of up to $1,000.

It is anticipated that Baker’s first day on the job will be March 27. She is to be given an initial performance review after six months and then every six months after.

The agreement calls for Baker to be paid three months severance pay if the county terminates her employment. Based on her current salary, that payment would come to $22,407. She would also get three months of continued benefits. If Baker were terminated due to malfeasance in office, gross misconduct, conviction for a felony, or conviction for an illegal act involving personal gain then the county wouldn’t have to pay the severance.

Commissioner Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, moved adoption of Baker’s contract with a second by Commissioner Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton. It was Fox and Hendrickx who had voted against offering the job to Baker. They had favored looking at additional candidates. Commissioners Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson, and Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson joined Fox and Hendrickx in approving the contract.

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....

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