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County rejects bid on public health building

The Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health building on Pacific Avenue in Morris will be put up for sale. The public health staff will be moving to the former Stevens County Human Services building on Highway 28.

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners rejected the one big it received for its now-empty public health building and will continue to pursue a buyer willing to pay closer to the $200,000 it would like to get for it.

The board on Tuesday rejected a bid of $125,000 from Todd Hottovy for the building on Pacific Avenue. Board members thanked Hottovy, who said he expected that his bid would not be successful.

The county began seeking to sell the building once it decided to move its Human Services department from its building on Highway 28. Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health moved in once Human Services moved out.

The county planned for this eventuality when it began working in its courthouse renovation project. Commissioners approved a budget that called for getting $200,000 from the sale of the building. An appraisal this spring put its value at $250,000.

The county will solicit Requests for Proposal from realtors, and it also will talk again with City of Morris officials about their interest in buying the building for a new city hall. City officials toured the building and have stated it might work as an upgrade to its current location, but the city also hasn't indicated it is serious about buying it.

In other county business:

0 Board members thanked County Attorney Charles Glasrud for his service and congratulated him on his appointment to the 8th Judicial District bench.

Glasrud was appointed as judge last week by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Glasrud and the board spent considerable time discussing how to move forward in finding a successor.

"This is a good job," Glasrud said. "I love this job and community and I want to see the transition do well."

Glasrud has been with the county since 1984 and has won election to the county attorney post since 1990.

Glasrud and his wife, Deb Economou, own Glasrud & Economou Law, and Economou works as the assistant county attorney. Glasrud said Economou will not seek appointment to the county attorney's position.

The county will need to appoint a successor and will also have to decide by January 2014 if it wants to continue with a part-time county attorney or move to a full-time office. That prospect likely would be expensive, Glasrud said.

A neighboring county pays about $250,000 for two full-time lawyers and the equivalent of 1-1/2 full-time staffers, he said.

The county would need an attorney experienced in criminal law since "that's a big part of the job. A prominent part of the job," Glasrud said.

The appointee also would need to fit well with local law enforcement.

"It's very important that law enforcement is comfortable with the person and the person's qualifications and experience," Glasrud said.

Glasrud said he expects to begin his new job in early July. Human Services and law enforcement will be represented in the interview process. The board will advertise for the position and expects it will know which are the top candidates by its June 7 meeting.