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Stevens County Sheriff announces resignation

MORRIS - After 12 years as Sheriff of Stevens County, Randy Willis has resigned to accept a position with the Minnesota Sheriff's Association.

Willis submitted his resignation letter to the Stevens County Board of Commissioners on Friday, Oct. 26, and the board accepted his resignation as of Dec. 31, 2012 at their board meeting Monday.

"It has been my good fortune to have worked with and beside a very dedicated and bright group of women and men both inside the Sheriff's Office and throughout the county," Willis wrote in his resignation letter. "Their commitment to the people of Stevens County and the work that they do has been, and I'm sure will continue to be, focused on continual improvement in service and efficiency."

The Minnesota Sheriff's Association is a statewide organization that works to support sheriff's through advancing legislation and organizing continuing education and training.

On Monday, the board decided to go through a process to hire a new sheriff, rather than appoint Willis' replacement. The board authorized Human Resource Director Janet Raguse to move forward with advertising the position and work with the board to set up a process for interviews.

The board also congratulated Willis for his recent Meritorious Service Award from the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers.

"I have a lot of good help and awards like that are all about the people you work with and work for," Willis said to the board. "It's important to have your people involved in state organizations because you can get a lot done to further those things."

Other business

• The board authorized the county to serve as the fiscal agent for a shared services grant for the fire departments in Stevens County.

Willis told the board that the grant will be used to hire a consultant to continue helping find ways to share services amongst the departments.

• The board informally approved a new lease agreement with the Stevens County DAC for their building. Under the agreement, the DAC will continue to lease the building for $80 a month.

DAC Director Emma Kvatum told the board that in the 30 years the DAC has leased the building, they have worked hard making investments like a new roof, flooring, a furnace, a dishwasher and other building upgrades. Although the rent figure is small, Kvatum said it is what the DAC board feels they can afford because of state cuts to reimbursement payments for services.

The board agreed to renew the lease, but will wait to adopt it formally until County Attorney Aaron Jordan has a chance to review it and make other small updates.

• The board accepted a donation from the Eagles to the Ag Society of $3,160 for a new roof on the 4-H building at the Stevens County Fairgrounds.

• The board denied a request from Mark Leighton to refund a late penalty on two real estate tax payments. In a letter to the board, Leighton said that he dropped off his tax payments after the close of business on the day they were due, but the payment should be considered on time because they were dropped off on the day they were due.

Stevens County Auditor/Treasurer Neil Wiese told the board that in the past they have not offered an abatement for late payments. The board agreed with Wiese and denied the request.

• The board approved a final payment to Riley Bros Construction for a $1.1 million dollar project on CSAH 13 this summer.