Itasca County fires administrator

Word NEWS in Old Typewriter Typebar Letters Isolated on WhiteLast night in an emergency closed session the Itasca County Board fired its administrator Trish Harren.

This was the brief statement released by the county board:

The County Board of Commissioners terminated the employment agreement of the County Administrator, Trish Harren, effective, April 15, 2016.  April 15th was selected as the date because the County Administrator has statutory rights to demand written charges and a public hearing on the charges prior to the date when final removal takes effect.  Any public hearing would be before the County Board.  The County Administrator must request the written charges and a public hearing by April 8, 2016.  The County Administrator will be on a paid suspension during the period up to April 15, 2016.  Any questions can be directed to County Board Chair Rusty Eichorn.

The session last night had drawn a rally of local veterans and citizens in support of Hugh Quinn. Quinn was the veterans services officer for the county who had been told not to report for work shortly after he announced his resignation. His resignation announcement was part of a longer debate over the role of the county within the veterans office. Harren had sought to oversee the department herself as part of a cost-savings measure.

Much of the conflict surrounding the issue has to do with a confusing and contradictory set of communications relayed to board members, employees and the media over the matter. County employees tell me that there have been longstanding disputes with Harren over micromanagement.

Harren is entitled to a response and a hearing, so we’ll see where this goes next.

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