Nicollet Co.'s top two administrators on their way out

Mark Fischenich, The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.
·2 min read

Mar. 30—ST. PETER — Nicollet County's administrator is on his way out and the assistant administrator/human resources director has already resigned, although the County Board is not yet explaining why.

On Monday night, the board announced a special meeting for Thursday morning to deal with those personnel matters.

The first agenda item for the 9 a.m. meeting is a "motion to approve the separation agreement with Ryan Krosch" and the second item is a "motion to accept the resignation of Jamie Haefner."

Krosch has been the top appointed official for Nicollet County since Jan. 1, 2013 — hired at a salary of just under $112,000 after serving in the same role in western Minnesota's Yellow Medicine County. A native of the Vernon Center area in Blue Earth County, Krosch replaced Bob Podhradsky, the first person to hold the county administrator position in Nicollet County until he retired the previous July.

Eight years ago, board members expressed some reluctance about the contract Krosch negotiated, particularly the provision requiring the county to pay him a six month's salary if he was terminated. Commissioner Marie Dranttel, saying she didn't support more than three months of severance pay upon termination, voted against approving the contract, although other commissioners approved it.

Haefner preceded Krosch at the county, serving as human resources director for more than a decade.

When The Free Press inquired about the board's March 18 closed meeting "for preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against individuals subject to the board's authority," Board Chair Terry Morrow said he could say nothing about the meeting, including the identities of the individuals involved.

Morrow said the board did not take any official action after the closed meeting and said at that point no future meeting had been set to discuss the issue.

Minnesota statute says a public body shall close one or more meetings "For preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against an individual subject to its authority. If the members conclude that discipline of any nature may be warranted as a result of those specific charges or allegations, further meetings or hearings relating to those specific charges or allegations held after that conclusion is reached must be open."

Thursday's meeting is an open meeting and will include action to designate a "responsible authority for data requests — interim county administrator." The board is also expected to authorize the county's Personnel Committee to handle some of Haefner's duties, including making hiring decisions and salary offers in consultation with county department heads.