Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Local MN Extension program reorganizes

 

March 12, 2020



Changes unfolding in the Carlton County Extension Program were laid out in a six month updated report presented by acting supervisor Donna Lekander at the Committee of the Whole meeting on March 3.

The Extension Program has been under intense scrutiny since the departure of Troy Salzer who ran the local program. Initial investigation of the local program showed the lack of supervision for staff working there and a need to set staff guidelines for their particular job.

County Coordinator Dennis Genereau explained, “Commissioners Peterson and Thell and I worked on the department issues first and then six months ago Lekander came in to work on the details by streamlining the work done at the department. We are now in a better operating position.”

Some of the changes that have occurred are summed up as follows:

• Job descriptions of each staff member were studied and job tasks were reassigned, resulting in about a half time position eliminated.

• All staff were trained as if they were County employees to ensure staff were treated equally in the work place.

• The four vehicles assigned to the current program were reduced to one.

• A consultant was hired to study the lime and bio-solid application program on local farm fields. The program has been relabeled “Soil Improvement Program” and its future is being assessed.

• iPads for staff field work have been implemented and have reduced unnecessary paper work.

• Program rental equipment are now sunseted. It was found that the equipment was used around the region instead of solely in Carlton County. A private contractor may step in to provide that service.

• The Extension Committee will be strengthened to provide overall program supervision.

“I have been in discussions with a representative of the Regional Extension Program” Supervisor Lekander commented. “They asked a lot of questions about the direction we are taking the local extension program. I held my own during the discussion.”

 

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