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County chooses auditor/treasurer, interviews for county engineer

MORRIS – The Stevens County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to offer the position of Stevens County Auditor Treasurer to Amanda (Krosch) Barsness after interviewing three potential candidates on Monday.

Barsness is currently an accounts receivable accountant with Hancock Concrete. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in accounting with a minor in finance from Concordia College in Moorhead in 2009. Barsness is also an inactive certified public accountant.

The board originally had five interviews scheduled, but two candidates withdrew prior to their interviews. The three interviewed candidates were Sheldon Giese of Morris, Sonja Amundson of Chokio and Barsness. Giese also withdrew from consideration prior to the board’s discussion of the position on Thursday, leaving them with two candidates.

Byron Giese, retired auditor/treasurer in Swift County, has been serving in an interim capacity and indicated he would stay through the end of the year if the board did not make another appointment.

Commissioner Ron Staples said he thought it was important for the board to appoint a candidate, which could serve as an endorsement to a write-in campaign for the fall.

Commissioner Jeanne Ennen said her top candidate would depend on what the board was looking for in the position. She said Amundson had more management experience, while Barsness had a strong financial background.

“I think now would be a good time to bring someone in with [Amanda’s] experience because we’ve got a wealth of experience up in that office,” said Wohlers. “Whoever we put in that position has people who can guide her through and help her with the knowledge she doesn’t have.”

Contingent on her acceptance and a background check, Barsness will assume the position vacated by Neil Wiese’s resignation in July. In her interview, Barsness indicated she would launch a write-in campaign for the position.

Board interviews engineer candidates

This week, the board also interviewed two candidates for county engineer, Todd Larson of Glenwood and Brian Noetzelman of Villard.  

Larson is currently employed as a civil engineer with Hancock Concrete. He has previously worked in the Pope County Highway Department, Chippewa County Highway Department and Big Stone County Highway Department.

Larson holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from North Dakota State University. He is also licensed as a professional engineer in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Noetzelman most recently served as Pope County Engineer from 2001 to 2014 and left the position when his term expired. He previously worked with Todd County Public Works as assistant county engineer.

Noetzelman has a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from North Dakota State University and is a licensed professional engineer in Minnesota.

Although the board indicated that both were strong, qualified candidates, the consensus was that Larson was an open communicator who would be good fit in the Stevens County Highway Department.

“I thought Todd was very open to learning the people you work with,” said Commissioner Bob Kopitzke. “I think that’s one of the most important things we have to have in our courthouse.”

“Todd’s communication style seemed a lot more open and he seemed a lot more open to working with staff,” said Commissioner Phil Gausman.

The board directed Human Resources Director Janet Raguse to complete references checks for Larson. The board will officially vote on offering the position to a candidate at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2.