Despite the fact that they had previously decided to not make any new hires this year, the Faribault County Board added an employee at their last meeting.
The board voted to hire a part-time, 10-14 hours per week, employee in the county attorney’s office.
The new employee is Gayle Parish of Delavan. County Attorney Brian Roverud says Parish has experience working for a Twin Cities law firm, and he is happy to get someone of her caliber.
The vote to hire Parish came with some controversy, however.
When a previous employee in the attorney’s office resigned, the board decided not to replace her. Instead, they voted to fill the position by having employees from other county offices fill in and do the work when they could.
Roverud says that plan just did not work.
“The employees were busy in their own departments, and it was difficult for them to make time to fill in for me,” he told the board.
Commissioner Bill Groskreutz was not in favor of the hire, and voted ‘no’ on the motion.
“While we may need a person in this office, it is not fair to other departments when we say we have a hiring freeze,” he says.
Other commissioners agreed, but say the work needs to get done.
“We can’t risk losing cases against criminals because of this,” Commis-sioner Tom Warmka says.
The previous employee, Jolene Krussow, was working 20 hours per week, while Parish will work half that on most weeks. Still, finding the money in the budget could be a problem. Commissioners asked County Auditor John Thompson if there are funds available for the position.
“It would come out of the general fund, and it isn’t in the budget,” he says. “I really don’t know if we have the money. The state cuts are less than we expected so we could have some extra funds.”
Thompson says that in the grand scheme of things, this part-time position probably won’t be the reason the county goes over or under budget this year.
For more of this story, see this week’s Register.