Becker County Board District 2: Halvorson wants county and city to work together to save money
“My other priority will be the current issue of high employee turnover,” he added in an interview. “It’s very simple – treat them the way you’d want to be treated. You have to work with them. You can’t treat them like they’re not part of the team, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”
DETROIT LAKES — Darin Halvorson wants Becker County and Detroit Lakes to do a better job of working together.
He considers it wasteful spending that the county and city didn’t cooperate on a joint public works facility, or a joint law enforcement building. “Why did Becker County and Detroit Lakes build separate highway buildings instead of combining them?” That would have saved millions of dollars, he said.
And as far as law enforcement, he pointed out that Moorhead and Clay County built a shared police department-sheriff’s office facility. “It’s not perfect, but they’re making it work,” he said.
“Surrounding counties have already realized the huge financial savings impact that combining these resources will save taxpayers” he added. “I am aware of these problems mainly because I was the main accountant for Becker County for 28 years, and was responsible for assembling the county's financial statements and establishing their overall budget.”
Halvorson, 55, served as head accountant in the Becker County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office until 2019, when he retired.
He is single, with a grown son, Chase, who works for Cargill in Kansas City. Halvorson, who lives on East Shore Drive, now focuses on his real estate and rental business, and owns about 10 rental homes in the area.
“My other priority will be the current issue of high employee turnover,” he said in an interview. “It’s very simple – treat them the way you’d want to be treated. You have to work with them. You can’t treat them like they’re not part of the team, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”
He laid the blame on current county leadership, and on the incumbent District 2 commissioner he is running against, in particular. “The common denominator around all this is Ben Grimsley,” he said.
“As a former employee of Becker County, and having first-hand knowledge of the weakness in leadership that has been happening, I want to work with administration and department heads and begin to right the wrongs. If that involves training our leaders and working with the union to resolve these issues, then that is what we will focus on,” he said.
Halvorson said he would also focus on technology and improving efficiency. “When I first started with Becker County in 1992, counties belonged to an organization called MCCC (Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative) that was doing the updates and design of the software,” he said. “Counties had a central spot for service, and if counties had new users that had to learn the software, the user could call the central location and get training straight from the source. Today, counties all have strayed from that concept and gone to their own individual software. I want to work with other counties to go back to being on a uniform system. It is easier to share costs with 87 counties. Which is another savings for taxpayers.”
He also noted that the election process is secure in Becker County.
“Although you hear in the news about election fraud, I can assure you that Becker County does an excellent job at making sure the elections are safe and secure,” he said. “I know this because I worked elections for many years. Becker County goes through ballot tests and checks-and-balances to make sure the voting counts are correct. In all of my 28 years working there, I have never seen election fraud issues.”