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Hebert is reviewed; without any detail (12/12/2012)
By Sarah Squires

Winona County Administrator Duane Hebert received a positive performance evaluation, according to limited information from the board during Tuesday's Winona County Board meeting.

Minnesota law requires that government units that close public meetings in order to conduct such employee evaluations provide a summary during their next regular meeting, summaries that the state has ruled must provide detail about goals and other performance measures.

In the meeting agenda, which was released last week, the following statement appeared as the "summary" from the board: “And the findings of the review indicate that we are on target with the goals and expectations.” That statement does not satisfy the requirements of Minnesota law, according to Minnesota Newspaper Association Attorney Mark Anfinson.

When questioned last week by the Winona Post, Personnel Director Maureen Holte indicated she felt that the "summary" statement in the agenda would meet the requirements of the law. She also said it would be the only information given during the meeting.

However, at the meeting, Board Chair Mena Kaehler added the following: “[During the evaluation meeting] we discussed the goals that are listed on the top part of our board packet. If anybody would like to see those, there are seven goals listed there. In addition to those goals, we covered 10 core capacities, or core competencies, ranging from strategic agility, decision making, impact on results, organizational expertise,” she said. “And overall, Mr. Hebert is meeting or exceeding performance standards.”

The “goals listed on the top part of our board packet” referenced in Kaehler’s summary are the “2012 County Board goals.” Those board goals include the following: “Create action steps/options to reduce and eliminate structural deficit; increase collaboration with local and regional entities; further enhance relationships with state and federal representatives, develop a comprehensive plan process; enhance agriculture in Winona County; protect our greatest natural assets; and create the best possible working environment for citizens and employees.”

Board member Marcia Ward said that board goals are established at the beginning of the year during county board strategic planning sessions. She encouraged citizens with ideas for 2013 goals to contact the board with those suggestions.

Kaehler says goodbye

Kaehler, who narrowly lost her board seat to Steve Jacob, said farewell Tuesday, her last meeting as a commissioner before Jacob assumes the seat in 2013.

Kaehler noted she was proud of her work on the board and said it was an honor to be the county’s first representative on the Association of Minnesota Counties Board of Directors. She stated the work accomplished under her leadership to make Winona County more efficient was what she was most happy about, along with the work done to study the silica sand mining industry. “I believe our team has set the bar high,” she said, adding that she hoped in four years the new board would have as much to be proud of. “I’ve truly enjoyed serving,” she said, “and I will miss it.” 


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