Winona County Board offers $12,000 raise
Winona County Administrator Duane Hebert has been named a finalist in two county administrator search processes in Minnesota. After being selected as one of the top candidates for the Wabasha County post, Hebert was given the nod in Sherburne County, Minn., as well, and expressed continued interest in that job on Monday.
Hebert, who was hired for his Winona County administrative position four years ago, was unavailable for comment for this story. Gary Weires, of David Drown and Associates, a consulting firm working with Sherburne County on its search for a new top administrator, confirmed last week that Hebert was still interested in the position.
Hebert recently underwent a performance evaluation during two closed meetings with the Winona County Board. On Monday, the board is expected to provide a summary of the evaluation, and offer Hebert a more than $12,000 raise. Included in the agenda is an amendment to his employment contract that would increase his base salary from $105,000 to $117,046. According to county records of Hebert's original contract approved in June 2009, the maximum salary for the Winona County Administrator position contained within county policies is $109,000.
The Sherburne County Board voted to narrow its list of candidates for the county administrator job on August 20. Names of finalists for such executive government jobs, according to the Minnesota Data Practices Act, are public information, but before Weires released the names of the Sherburne County Board's choices, he made a courtesy call to ensure they were still interested in the job. Hebert's name appeared on the list released the following day.
While Wabasha County is much smaller than Winona County, at about 21,000 residents, Sherburne County is a growing metropolitan area with more than 88,000 residents.
Under Hebert's tenure in Winona County, he has helped consolidate departments and reduce the number of workers employed by the county. The county's tax levy has decreased under his leadership following a trend in the 2000s in which the county levied millions more than expenditures from year to year.
Recently, as the majority of Winona County Board members have worked to regain hiring authority for department head positions, Hebert expressed what appeared to be displeasure with the decision to grant the board that power. In June, during a strategic planning session discussion about the hiring process, County Board member Steve Jacob attempted to calm the concern that the change would not respect Hebert's authority and recommendations about new department head selection processes. Jacob told Hebert that the board would likely simply vote on his recommendation for a department head hire, and that it wasn't cutting Hebert out of the process.
"It's your county," quipped Hebert. "You are the representatives; you do what you want to do, and I decide if I want to work within that or not."