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FCDC has 12 apply

By Staff | Oct 10, 2010

Travis Keister

A hiring committee is reviewing resumes in hopes of finding a new executive director for Faribault County Development Corporation.

The committee’s chairman Travis Keister says the private, non-profit group received 12 applications for the position.

“There was some good diversity. A lot of the applicants were from the state, but we did get one from Tennessee,” he says.

The list is expected to be narrowed to four, says Keister, and the committee may begin interviewing this week or next week.

“In four to six weeks we want to have a recommendation to the board to vote on,” he says.

FCDC, also known as Go Minnesota, has been without a director since Doug Uhrhammer resigned at the end of August.

The advertisement placed on the Minnesota League of Cities website stated the starting salary between $70,000 to $90,000, depending on qualifications and work experience.

Until someone is hired, Uhrhammer has been available to provide consultant services if needed.

Another matter affecting FCDC will be whether the county will continue its financial support.

Last year, commissioners budgeted $50,000 for the development group to provide services specified in a one-year agreement.

When the county board takes up the FCDC funding issue, two commissioners will have to decide if they should abstain from voting.

Commissioners Tom Warmka and John Roper are current members of the group.

County Attorney Brian Roverud says because the commissioners do not stand to benefit financially by voting to fund FCDC, then no conflict of interest exists.

“As far as I’m concerned there’s no conflict. I don’t have any voting rights in the group or any part of its governing structure,” says Roper.

For Warmka, however, it may be a different matter.

In the past, Warmka has said he is a member of FCDC as a farmer, not a commissioner representing District 5 and the county.

Unlike Roper, Warmka is one of FCDC’s board of directors.

Mark Anfinson, an attorney with the Minnesota Newspapers Association, agrees there is no conflict of interest.

“I don’t see any legal problem. But, you could see where some people might raise an eyebrow,” he says. “People might wonder if they have distance from the organization. What’s good policy is in the eye of the beholder.”

Last year, when Commissioner Butch Erichsrud was a member of the then Go Minnesota he voted “yes” to earmark $50,000 for the group.

Erichsrud says it never occurred to him a conflict of interest might exist.

In hindsight, Erichsrud admits he might have excused himself from voting.

“Being a member might put a “yes” behind their name on anything they wanted,” he says.

The District 2 commissioner isn’t a member of FCDC this year and says he plans to vote for funding the group.

“I believe in the organization. It’s money well spent,” adds Erichsrud.