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Local Human Services executive director switches hands

By Staff | Feb 2, 2020

Kathy Werner, left, who has been with Human Services for 39 years is retiring. Her replacement, Chera Sevcik, will begin her new role as executive director of Faribault and Martin County Human Services on Feb. 3.

There will be new leadership at the Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties beginning Feb. 3.

Actually, the transition period began on Jan. 6. That is the date Chera Sevcik began transitioning into the position of executive director while the current executive director, Kathy Werner, stayed on through the end of January to help facilitate the change.

Werner has spent the last 39 years working in Human Services in some capacity. She has worked at the management level since 2000 and had been the executive director since 2011.

“There has been a lot change over the years,” Werner comments. “Everything used to be done by paper but now it is all done by computers.”

Werner and Sevcik explain change is just part of the normal goings on in Human Services.

“If you are not into change, or cannot deal with change, then this is not the job for you,” Sevcik remarks.

Everything is constantly in motion, Werner adds.

“Things are constantly evolving,” Werner says. “We are always trying to improve the ways we serve the people.”

And Human Services aids the public in many ways including adult services, chemical dependency services, child support enforcement, children and family services, community health services, daycare and licensing services, developmental disabilities services, financial assistance services and mental health services.

While Human Services is constantly evolving, Werner and Sevcik were recently reminded some things remain the same.

“We were going through some old files from 1988 and discovered the topics of discussion then were similar to things being discussed now,” Werner explains.

Werner says she is ready for retirement. She lives in East Chain with her husband Earl. They have three grown children.

“I am looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren,” she comments. “I was just ready and it was time to retire.”

Sevcik is a graduate of Minnesota State University-Mankato. She received her master’s degree in community health in 2009.

She resides in North Mankato with her husband Tim, and their three children, Treyson, Makaylah and Rylan.

“In 2010, I became the coordinator here in the agency for the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP),” Sevcik says. “Then, about five years ago, I took the position as the community health manager.”

Sevcik noted some of the tasks she will face in her new job.

“The changes we face can be a big challenge,” she remarks. “And navigating through the multiplicity of changes can take a lot of work.”

She also listed her top concerns Human Services is facing.

“Mental health issues, substance abuse, chronic disease, an aging population and adverse childhood experiences are what I see as needing the most attention,” she stated. “But I am excited about Stronger Together, a coalition of Faribault and Martin Counties, which has been formed to address the major health concerns of the two counties.”

She also shared what she says is a key to seeing improvement regarding health concerns.

“The only way it (health concerns) is going to get better is through prevention,” she says.

And Human Services is involved with many people in the two counties, according to Sevcik.

“Our agency touches 40 percent of the population in Faribault and Martin Counties,” she notes.

Finally Sevcik shares she is thankful for the staff at Human Services.

“I am so excited to work with the staff,” she says. “They work hard, do a wonderful job and are very caring people.”