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County searches for new administrator

Finalists for the Becker County administrator position were interviewed Friday by the Becker County Board.

The interviews started at 8:30 a.m. at the courthouse and continued for most of the day.

No hiring decisions were expected to be made on Friday.

More than 40 people applied for the position via a professional recruiting firm, which handled the application process and developed the list of finalists for County Board consideration.

The administrator position has been vacant since Tom Mortenson resigned under pressure on Aug. 30.

The county board has gone through the hiring process once already to replace him.

In April, commissioners voted 3-2 not to hire either of the two finalists for the job and to re-advertise the position.

The board later decided to hire a professional recruitment service -- Springsted Inc. of St. Paul -- in part to ensure that extensive background checks are done on the finalists.

The finalists (in no particular order) include:

• Tim Middendorf, who has been vice president and CEO of Augustana Care in Minneapolis since 2007.

He is well known in Detroit Lakes, where he served as regional director for Ecumen from 1996 to 2005.

After leaving Detroit Lakes he worked for two years as administrator of the Renville County Hospital in Olivia.

He also worked as an administrator at healthcare and nursing home facilities from 1984 to 1996.

Middendorf has a master's degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and a bachelor's degree in social work from Moorhead State.

• Thomas Smith has served in city government administration positions in nine cities in Alaska, Minnesota and Iowa from 1984 to the present. He is currently burrough manager for the city of Skagway, Alaska.

He worked as a city administrator in Eagle Lake, Silver Bay, Pine City and Becker, Minn.

Smith has a master's degree in urban and regional studies from Mankato State and a bachelor's degree in public administration and political science from St. Cloud State.

• Jack Ingstad served as the county administrator of Plumas County (Quincy), California from 2005 until April of this year.

He was county administrator of Eagle County (Vail-Beaver Creek), Colorado from 1999 to 2005, assistant county administrator there for four years prior to that, and public relations director there for two years prior to that.

Before that, he was an attorney and businessman in Grand Forks, N.D., from 1983 to 1993, and served in the North Dakota State Senate. He was a TV and radio news reporter in North Dakota prior to 1983.

He has a bachelor's degree in public administration from UND in Grand Forks, where he also earned his law degree.

• Thomas Johnson has been the managing director of the public works department in Eagle County, Colorado, since 2007, where he was also facilities management director for six months.

He was facilities manager for Rosemount, Inc., in Chanhassen from 1997 to 2006, and was manufacturing engineering supervisor there for two years prior to that.

He worked as a manufacturing manager, project engineer and senior project engineer from 1989 to 1995.

He has a master's degree in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

• Larry Kruse served as city administrator of Albertville, Minn., from 2003 until April of this year.

He was the city administrator for Baxter from 1999 to 2003 and the city administrator for Park Rapids from 1993 to 1998.

Prior to that he served as city administrator for Red Lake Falls from 1986 to 1993.

Kruse has a master's degree in business management from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Moorhead State.