Harren stepping down as county administrator

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Mower County’s first county administrator is stepping down to take a similar position closer to family.

During Tuesday morning’s Mower County Board of Commissioners meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Trish Harren. Harren has accepted a position as county administrator in Kittson County, a county that borders the Canadian and North Dakota borders.

“I really am grateful for this opportunity,” Harren said after the board’s vote, referring to her time in Mower County. “It was a very hard decision.”

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The vote came with a lot of emotion as Human Resource Director Kris Kohn tearfully said, “She has been a gift to this county.”

“Since you’ve been here, it’s one of the reasons we’re one of the best places to work,” Commissioner Jerry Reinartz said.

Harren was hired in 2018, when the position transitioned from that of county coordinator, previously held by Craig Oscarson.

Her new position will seat her in Hallock, in a county with around 4,500 people. 

Interviews for the new county administrator will take place at the end of July as the county seeks to move quickly on finding Harren’s replacement, a process she will be taking an active part in before departing. 

Her last day will be Aug. 4.

Harren told commissioners, though, that she had no doubts that because of Mower County’s current reputation there will be no shortage of applicants.

“I have no doubt it will continue,” she said. “Trees that grow so tall are hard to chop down. I hope we have a very hard decision to make.”

Department update

In his department update to commissioners, Auditor/Treasurer Scott Felten ran down a number of election changes expected in the coming years.

This includes the news that Minnesota counties, including Mower, will be receiving extra funds toward elections from a pot of  $1.25 million allocated by the state.

Early voting for 2024 has also been expanded, including that early voters will be able to place their ballots directly into a tabulator rather than a drop box. 

There will also be expanded hours at the Elections Office, which will be open prior to election day.

Where before the Elections Office was open the Saturday before election day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offices will now be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. two Saturdays before.

The office will be open the Tuesday before until 7 p.m., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Sunday before and until 5 p.m. the Monday before election day.

Those voting by mail only ballot will be able to deliver their ballots to the Elections Office by 8 p.m. on election night while absentee ballots will need to be in by 3 p.m. on election day.

Kathy Lientz is photographed with members of Correctional Services Tuesday morning to celebrate her retirement. Photo provided

Kathy Lientz

The board also honored Kathy Lientz, office technician for Correctional Services, who is retiring after 24 years.

Eighteen of those years have been under Director Steve King.

“I appreciate you running the place for 18 years and corrections for 24 years,” King joked after praising Lientz for her dedication not only to her job  at Correctional Services, but as rep for Local 9.