Three Kandiyohi County administrator finalists bring years of administrative experience

·3 min read

Sep. 10—WILLMAR

— The Kandiyohi County Board will be interviewing each of the three county administrator finalists on Sept. 27. They'll have to decide which one will best fill the top administrative position in the county from a pool of candidates that bring experience in the governmental, medical and nonprofit sectors.

The finalists are Kelsey Baker, current county administrator of Swift County; Cassandra Harvey, program manager — Healthy Aging & Caregiver Supports for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation; and Jennifer Lippert, the director of Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services.

Baker has served as the Swift County administrator for the last five years. Prior to that she was the executive director for The Legends at Heritage Place, an assisted living facility in Sartell, for one year. She also worked for the state of South Dakota as a marketing and communications specialist for three years and a public information officer for one year.

She earned her bachelor's degree in public relations/ advertising and management communications from North Dakota State University and an executive master's degree in public administration from the University of South Dakota.

Harvey has worked for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul for three years, serving as the program manager for Healthy Aging & Caregiver Supports. She also worked for the Duluth Regional Care Center for 19 years, serving as the program assistant to the program coordinator, a staff trainer and the program director.

She earned a bachelor's degree in political science and global studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and her master's degree in business administration from Bushnell University.

Lippert has been serving as the director of Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services for the last four years. Prior to that she was the executive director of Ecumen of Litchfield for three years, a nurse clinician with Rice Home Medical for six months and worked for the Benedictine Health System for about one year as a licensed practical nurse/marketing director/staff educator.

She holds a licensed practical nursing degree from Rasmussen College, a bachelor's degree in university studies with an emphasis in health care from North Dakota State University and a master's degree in health and human services administration from St. Mary's University of Minnesota.

Kleindl announced on May 3 his upcoming retirement and plans to leave the administrator position he has held for 16 years in February 2023. Prior to his hiring as administrator, Kleindl worked in the county's Family Services Department, first as a supervisor starting in 1994 and then taking over as director in 2001.

The County Board hired DDA Human Resources Inc., a David Drown Associates company, to run the search for candidates for the administrator position. The application window was open for about a month this summer. Only eight applications were submitted and four of those applications were moved to the Kandiyohi County Board to be considered as prospective finalists. The board originally decided to interview all four candidates, but only three agreed to move forward with the interview process.

"It is a sign of the times, unfortunately. That is what we have been experiencing this entire year," said Liza Donabauer from DDA Human Resources at Tuesday's board meeting.