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Fischer resigns from ambulance service -- Meuwissen, Meissner also leave county spots

Facing possible dismissal, Stevens County Ambulance Service Director Randy Fischer resigned from that post on Friday, and two other county employees announced their resignations Thursday to pursue other jobs.

County auditor/treasurer Mark Meuwissen will leave his position after five years and will teach business and other related subjects at Alexandria Technical College.

Carol Meissner, director of Stevens-Traverse-Grant Public Health, will leave that position to work for Douglas County.

Fischer's position was reviewed by the county board in two closed meetings, and on Thursday they recommended his resignation. Fischer submitted his resignation later Thursday.

The county did not reveal the nature of the complaints against Fischer, and state law dictates that the complaints are public information only after final disposition of discipline.

Since Fischer resigned, there was no disciplinary action taken against him and the county's investigation remains private data, according to a letter provided to local media by county coordinator Jim Thoreen.

Fischer could not be contacted on Friday.

The county board reviewed the complaints against Fischer and voted unanimously to request his resignation.

The consensus of the board was that's the direction we wanted to go, said board chairman Larry Sayre.

The ambulance service's Ron Flanagan was named interim director.

Meuwissen has been with the county since 1999. He said he leaves with mixed emotions, but that travel between Morris and Alexandria for his wife, Karen, to her job at Alex Tech had become difficult since the couple adopted two children two years ago.

Meuwissen said he would remain in his position until November 5, through the election canvas. If the county were able to find a replacement, he would move his resignation ahead.

Meissner also said she leaves somewhat reluctantly since the addition of Grant County to form a tri-county public health department was only recently completed.

But Meissner stated that travel had taken its toll. I feel very guilty, like I'm abandoning the agency, she said. After consulting with others in the field, Meissner was told it's not uncommon for a director to leave after a major change in core organization. She said that wasn't the case this time.I thought I'd retire here, she said. Meissner's last day is September 1.

It was a tough day in terms of county employees, Sayre said. I hope we don't have any like that again.

In other county board action on Thursday, the commissioners set a $750 monthly fee for providing fiscal management and human resources aid to the new tri-county public health agency.

The agency's nine-member board had recommended Stevens County continue to administer those activities even after the addition of Grant County to the former Stevens-Traverse Public Health Agency. Thoreen said it was very easy to envision the fees mounting to a substantially higher figure, but that wouldn't be beneficial for the new organization. It could very quickly get to a couple thousand dollars per month, Thoreen said. But I dont think that's the way we want to launch this new entity. The health agency board also will need to retain a lawyer, and that it most likely could be Stevens County Attorney Charles Glasrud. That expense, however, would not be included in the $750 monthly fee.