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Trailblazer hires human resources director after contentious discussion

The Trailblazer Transit Joint Board of Commissioners has offered its human resources position to a candidate, but the decision came after a long, sometimes tense and contentious discussion over the hiring procedure.
The board met Thursday morning at the Trailblazer facility.
Trailblazer Executive Director Gary Ludwig announced that the executive committee, which consists of the board’s chair and vice chair, had made an offer to a candidate for the position, and the person was expected to start in two weeks.
And while most board members felt the candidate was qualified, based on Ludwig’s description, some felt outlined procedure had not been followed in making the offer.
McLeod County Commissioner Doug Krueger said his understanding was that the board would be able to vet candidates before a final decision was made. Krueger said he had not even seen the candidate’s resumé.
“I thought we made it clear that we wanted this to be a board decision,” said Krueger.
Ludwig said the candidate had 30 years of human resources experience, most recently a long-time stint with a law firm.
McLeod County Commissioner Sheldon Nies agreed with Krueger that there was not enough information to make a decision on a high-level position.
“How can we make a decision, just based on the information we have here?” Nies asked.
“I want to make sure this is our choice,” added Krueger, noting that the previous human resources director had only lasted a few weeks.
Sibley County Commissioner Jim Swanson said he felt the executive committee had “overstepped” its bounds.
Despite questions about procedure, McLeod County Commissioner Ron Shimanski, the board’s chair and a member of the executive committee, urged the board to approve the contract and move forward.
“This candidate may be the best one to ever cross this threshold,” said Shimanski. “I’m very reluctant to delay the hiring of this position.”

For more, see the April 27 print edition of The Chronicle.