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Viewpoint: Leadership transitions abound at Goodhue County

By Scott Arneson, Goodhue County Administrator

One hundred ninety-two is the combined number of years served by department heads or elected officials who have retired or left leadership positions from Goodhue County in the last year. That's almost two centuries of combined time.

During my 12 years as the Goodhue County administrator, I have had the pleasure of working with very competent, valuable and highly respected individuals throughout the county.

As we move forward and wish those success in their retirements, I look forward to developing those same relationships with new faces. Goodhue County as an organization is adjusting to change and tackling transitions. I would like to introduce a few of those changes to you:

Finance Director Brian Anderson along with the Finance Controller Kelly Bolin are new faces to the Government Center. This new leadership team is overseeing the Finance and Taxpayer Services. This department strives to provide quality taxation, assessment, election administration and financial reporting services for all the residents of Goodhue County.

Sheriff Marty Kelly along with Chief Deputy Jeremy Lerfald are new faces to the Law Enforcement Center. The sheriff is an elected position, while the chief deputy is an appointed position by the sheriff. Kelly was sworn into office for his first term in January 2019, and appointed Lerfald. Numerous transitions are taking place due to retirements of employees within the Sheriff's Office and the Adult Detention Center.

Stephen O'Keefe is the new county attorney, but is far from a new face to the Justice Center. He held the position of an assistant county attorney for over 25 years. The county attorney is an elected position, in which he was sworn into office for his first term in January 2019.

Court Services Director Joanne Theobald Pohl intends to retire in March 2019 after 40 years of service. The state of Minnesota and Goodhue County are in the process of hiring her replacement.

Scott Safe was appointed in the interim commissioner to represent District 1 as Commissioner Ron Allen continues his battle against cancer. The County Board of Commissioners continues to encourage departments to succession plan as we look further down the road and see the potential of long-term county employees retiring.