The Morrison County Board of Commissioners narrowed a field of 11 applicants for the position of county administrator to five, Tuesday.

Since the names of any candidates not chosen were not public information, the candidates were numbered and the commissioners wrote down their top three choices, by number.

Gary Weiers, with Gary Weiers of DDA Human Resources, told the Board that a range of three to five candidates to interview would be best, in case any candidate chose to drop out there would be enough remaining for an interview.

The five candidates chosen to be interviewed and their bios included:

Anthony Carson — most recently served as the city manager for the city of Forney, Texas, where he was employed for three years. Prior to this, he served as the city manager for the city of Pekin, Illinois, for two years, as the city manager for the city of Painesville, Ohio, for three years, as the town administrator for the town of Berlin, Maryland, for four years, as the town manager for the town of Fenwick Island, Delaware, for two years, and as the county administrator for Trumbull County, Ohio, for eight years.

Carson holds a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Kent State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Valdosta State University.

Shannon Coyle — is currently employed by CWT as the manager of accounts payable. She has been in the with the company for over 18 years and has held the other positions of manager of revenue accounting, senior revenue accountant and senior financial analyst. Prior to this, she served as a junior auditor for Henry Scholten & Co. for over four years and as an accountant with information handling services for eight years.

Coyle holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Colorado – Denver.

Seth Kauffman — currently serves as the city clerk for the city of Saint Cloud, and has been in the position for over four years. Prior to this, he worked for the city as a mayor’s office aide for nearly three years.

Kauffman holds a bachelor’s degree in planning and community development from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Capella University.

Matthew LeBlanc — is retiring from the United States Army as a lieutenant colonel, where he served a 21-year career holding every level of position from entry to corporate level either as a staff member, to the commander, or as a director within various institutional, operational and strategic environments, culminating with senior upper-level manager status in a dual role as a battalion commander and director of emergency management.

LeBlanc holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree in business and organizational security management from Webster University.

Scott Saehr — currently serves as the assistant city administrator/director of community and economic development for the City of Sartell. He has been in the role for a year and a half. Prior to this, he served as a community solutions specialist for Sourcewell for two and a half years, as an interim clerk/administrator for a year and a half, and as the city administrator for the city of Pierz, for two and a half years.

Saehr holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas.

The County Board will interview the candidates in a public meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 17, beginning at 12:30 p.m. The interviews are expected to last the afternoon, possibly into the evening.

Before that process begins, Weiers suggested the candidates meet with county department heads that morning.

The departments heads would do a group interview of each of the five candidates. The purpose is not to rank candidates, Weiers said, but to give feedback to the County Board.

He said their feedback would be regarding whether they feel the person would fit in, what their strengths were, that type of thing.

Weiers said each of the department heads would be given a form with questions. He will collect these forms, his assistant will compile them to be given to the Board. That way, the Board would have every comment made by the department heads before interviewing the candidates.

Weiers said he will also provide a list of questions for the commissioners to use when interviewing the candidates.

Should the commissioners decide none of the candidates meet the needs of the county, which Weiers said seldom happens, the process could start again. In fact, Weiers told the Board he recalled just one time in 100 cases that that had happened. In that instance,he said they waited six months and started the process again.

“The last thing you want to do is force a decision, because if you’re not ready to move forward collectively — if one of you is uncomfortable, then to go forward, any and all options are on the table,” Weiers said. “You might want to reinterview, repost.”

In responding to Commissioner Greg Blaine’s question about a second interview, Weiers said if need be, a second interview with one or more of the candidates is possible.

“If need be,” he said. “Rarely does that happen as well, I believe, because of the wealth of information you have even before the interviews; but that could happen.”

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