Lyon County Board hires new park staff

MARSHALL – Lyon County Commissioners voted for county board chairman and vice chairman positions, and discussed the hiring of two people for county parks positions on Tuesday.

For their first meeting of 2014, commissioners had a relatively short agenda which included several organizational items for the new year. At the start of the meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to keep Commissioner Rick Anderson as board chairman and unanimously voted for Commissioner Steve Ritter as vice chairman.

When commissioners moved on to other items on the agenda, they returned to a topic they had discussed at past meetings: the search for new county parks maintenance and programs staff.

In the search process for a county parks manager in 2013, a county hiring committee had interviewed two candidates with complementary skills, said Commissioner Charlie Sanow. The suggestion to split the parks manager position into a maintenance supervisor and a parks programming supervisor was discussed by commissioners at some of their last few meetings.

On Tuesday, Lyon County Human Resources Director Carolyn McDonald presented board members with job descriptions for a parks maintenance supervisor and a parks programming supervisor. The maintenance supervisor would be the leader of the two positions and would be responsible for upkeep, budgeting and seasonal staffing of Lyon County parks, McDonald said. The programming supervisor would be responsible for recreational programming, promoting county parks and writing and applying for grants.

Ritter said he had doubts about hiring two people for what could be seasonal jobs.

“To support the programs supervisor (position), I would need to know what they’d be doing for the other half of the year,” he said.

Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg replied that there would likely be year-round work for a programming supervisor to do, especially with grant-writing and promotional responsibilities. Sanow added that having an employee to plan park programming and promotions could help expand recreational options at, and the use of, county parks.

After discussion, commissioners voted to approve the two job descriptions. They also voted in favor of hiring Timothy Amick as parks maintenance supervisor and Brooke Wyffels as parks programming supervisor.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners accepted the resignation of Brad Digre as the county Geographic Informations Systems manager. Digre resigned effective Dec. 27, to take another job elsewhere, McDonald said.

Stomberg asked commissioners if they wanted to proceed with a job search for a new GIS Manager.

“I think we do need another GIS person,” Stomberg said – especially because Lyon County has agreements with Lac Qui Parle and Pipestone counties to provide GIS services. In addition, he said, the workload for three counties would be too much for current county GIS employees to handle by themselves.

Commissioners tended to agree with Stomberg.

“As long as we have clients, we have to take care of them,” said Commissioner Rodney Stensrud.

Maybe Lyon County and neighboring counties should consider forming a group sharing agreement for GIS services, Ritter suggested.

Commissioners voted to start advertising for the GIS manager position, provided the county considers future alternatives like shared GIS.