"We've gone through a considerable process and an emotional process as well," shared Kristina Kohn, human resources director for Fillmore County, just prior to the county board's decision to hire a replacement county coordinator. The county approved the hire of Bobbie Jo Vickerman at its meeting on Tuesday morning.

Current coordinator Karen Brown will be retiring at the end of the year and the board had conducted interviews with five candidates on Nov. 5. From those interviews, it was determined that the county would hire Vickerman to replace Brown.

Vickerman currently works as the deputy finance director in Winona County and had been the Lanesboro city clerk/administrator for 10 years prior to accepting the Winona County position last March.

The commissioners expressed unanimous approval over the decision to hire Vickerman while noting that she had been selected from a very good candidate pool.

"Her awareness of the finance programs will make her job easier," Commissioner Chuck Amunrud commented regarding Vickerman stepping into the coordinator position which Brown has held for 20 years.

Commissioner Chair Randy Dahl explained the commissioners had looked for a person who would be able to interact well with the board and who could take the direction of the board and bring ideas to fruition. They saw that in Vickerman.

"Her personality and working ability reflects the current coordinator," explained Commissioner Duane Bakke who noted Vickerman had been well-respected as the Lanesboro administrator.

The board thanked Brown and Kohn for their work in the hiring process and expressed gratitude for the candidates.

Vickerman will begin working Dec. 3 and will have a four-week overlap with Brown. She will be under the mandatory one-year probation for county employees and earn just over $72,000 per year starting out.

Suspected meth lab

County Attorney Brett Corson updated the board on a suspected meth lab site just north of Spring Valley.

He noted the county had been through the process of identifying and cleaning up clandestine labs before. Corson asked the board if it would go forward in evaluating the county's ordinance on clandestine labs.

Bakke said he and Commissioner Tom Kaase should be on a committee which would look at the ordinance and align it more with the state's statutes.

Brown mentioned she had been working with the sheriff's office and had requested ordinances from Olmsted and Mower counties to compare with Fillmore's.

Other news

• In other news, the board approved the payback of $271 to the USDA for 18.9 acres they took out of the county's CRP plot near the State Veterans Cemetery site. The acreage had been surveyed, included in the cemetery site and was part of the deed handed over to the state.

• Dahl noted how nearly every county department had a role to play in the development of the State Veterans Cemetery. The commissioners talked briefly about the groundbreaking ceremony held Nov. 8 and noted that it was well-attended and very meaningful for area veterans.

• The commissioners will be going on a county road tour Nov. 19.

• Brown explained that a new fee schedule had been put together in the finance committee and would be going to the department heads for finalization. She also brought up a move to develop a five-year technology plan for the county, though no further details were shared.