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Esser tabbed to take over for Thompson

By Staff | Jul 7, 2019

Darren Esser at his desk at the Faribault County Courthouse. Esser will soon become the interim county auditor/treasurer/coordinator until the next election.

The Faribault County Commissioners did not have to look too far to find someone to fill the position being vacated by John Thompson later this summer.

Darren Esser has been appointed by the commissioners to the position of Faribault County Auditor/Treasurer/Coordinator effective on Aug. 1. He will take over the position following the retirement of John Thompson effective July 31.

Thompson, who had served the county for 33 years, announced his resignation at a board meeting on May 7. He began serving the county as an accountant in 1986. Palmer Eckhardt, the county auditor at the time, announced his resignation in 1987 and Thompson was appointed to fill out Eckhardt’s term. Thompson was then elected to the position the following year.

Esser’s appointment is through Dec. 31, 2022. The next election for the auditor/treasurer/coordinator position will be held in November of 2022.

Esser has served the county a little over eight years, having been hired as an accountant in January of 2011. Later, he was promoted to his current position as chief deputy auditor/accountant.

Along with appointing Esser to his new job, the board also granted Esser an unpaid leave of absence from his current position. This would allow Esser to return to his former job if he chose not to seek election or if he is defeated in the next election for the auditor/treasurer/coordinator’s position.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of Faribault County,” Esser said.

Next, the board heard from Gertrude Paschke, the county assessor, regarding a couple from Kiester who were requesting local option disaster abatements and credits following a fire at their rental property located in Kiester. Paschke recommended denial because it is a non-homesteaded rental property and thus the owner was not displaced. The board agreed and the request was denied.

In another property matter, the board granted a request by Sam Hicks, who resides in Wisconsin, to repurchase property in Winnebago which was a forfeited tax parcel. The owners of the property were listed as Vernon and Donna Hicks, Sam’s parents. It was revealed Donna Hicks has been deceased for some time and the father passed away during the forfeiture process and the taxes were overlooked. Sam Hicks has paid the repurchase price in full so the property will be transferred back to the previous owners.

Staying with matters concerning Winnebago, the board heard from Annie Leibel, the Winnebago EDA Specialist, regarding the former SuperValu site located on Main Street. Liebel was asking for a motion to approve a plan to seek funding through the State Redevelopment Grant, which would fund up to 50 percent of all demolition costs if a developer is found for the side. The city of Winnebago and Faribault County would split the remaining demolition costs evenly. The board voted unanimously to grant this request.

In other business, the board:

Approved a resolution brought forth by Sheriff Mike Gormley to accept a boat and water grant from the DNR for the amount of $1,066.

Approved a request by Todd Hanevik, the jail administrator in the sheriff’s office, to attend a four-day jail administrator’s conference in Brainerd and for Chris Albers, a sheriff’s deputy, to attend a three-day basic tactical medical instructor seminar in Hutchinson.