Craig Oscarson to retire in September

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018


After serving Mower County for more than three decades, Craig Oscarson has decided that it was time for him to retire.

The official announcement came during the July 31 special session, and the Mower County Board has started the process of meeting with a hiring consultant to begin the search for candidates to fill Oscarson’s position. Oscarson’s official retirement date is set for Sept. 28.

“These are big shoes to fill,” said Board Chairman Jerry Reinartz after Tuesday’s board meeting “It’s a big loss for the county.”

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Details surrounding the hiring process is still in its preliminary stages, and it’s unknown as to when an expected hire will be made. However, Oscarson stated that this may be the time where Mower County could look into possible changes in how the county is managed, and may even affect the position in whether it stays as a county coordinator position, or could shift into a county administrator position.

Here are some of the differences between management styles:

County Coordinator

A county coordinator serves the county board and his or her employment can be terminated without notice, and is considered a department head, according to the Minnesota Association of County Administrators (MACA). They have more limited statutory duties and responsibilities than a county administrator.

They manage the affairs of the county, examine books of each department, office and agency of the county under control of the county board, and report conditions to the board. They also submit recommendations concerning the affairs of the county. The coordinator sees that all orders, resolutions and regulations of the county board are executed. The coordinator also initiates and presents a proposed budget to the county board for review and consideration, and serves as a clerk to the county board.

County Administrator

A county administrator is appointed by the county board for an indefinite term, and can be removed by the board at any time. However, after one year the administrator can demand written charges and a public hearing on charges before the county board.

The Minnesota Association of County Administrators stated that the county administrator is the administrative head of the county, and can “exercise general supervision over all county institutions and agencies, with approval of the county board, coordinate several activities of the county and unify the management of its affairs.”

An administrator can act as the head of any department, and can have the authority to hire personnel (with board approval), execute ordinances, resolutions and orders of the board. The MACAcan also appoint, suspend and remove county personnel with the approval the county board.

‘It’s time’

Although he will be retiring in late September, Oscarson has offered to continue working part-time for the county until the position has been filled, and would be willing to work with his eventual successor during the transitional phase of the hiring process.

The last time an executive position was in process of getting filled, it took anywhere between four to six months.

Oscarson shared that he had a “health scare” last spring, which caused him to think about his career and life. After consulting with his wife and family, Oscaron felt that the timing was best to step down and spend time with his loved ones.

“For 33 years, this has been a good county to work for,” he said. “But, it’s time.”

Other business

The Mower County Board approved two conditional-use permits for a commercial hoop house, additional greenhouse structure, and a 100 foot-tower for lattice tower for landowner usage of internet, phone and cable, and one rezoning request.