County recorder position under consideration

The Pipestone County Commissioners have taken some preliminary steps to consider making the position of Pipestone County Recorder a hired position, not an elected seat. The move comes on the heals of a letter of resignation from current County Recorder Mary Ann DeGroot.

In her letter to the commissioners, DeGroot provided notice that she will not be filing for another term as the Pipestone County Recorder and that she will be retiring on March 31, 2022. Her retirement comes after 38 years of employment with Pipestone County.

County Administrator Steve Ewing recommended to make the recorder position an appointed position, not an elected one. 

“We’ve learned over the years that business has changed greatly and it makes sense that it would be an appointed position at this point,” Ewing said.

The commissioners recently finalized a similar move when former County Auditor-Treasurer Tyler Reisch announced his resignation. The change removed the position from the ballot box and allowed for the hiring of Amanda Baarson Sandy to the position.

Noting this previous transition, Ewing reported that the process would be the same and much of the documentation and resolutions that were used could be updated to facilitate a change to the recorder position. Ewing reported that a job description and other details would need to be created in conjunction with official resolutions. The entire process would not be completed by DeGroot’s retirement at the end of March. An interim recorder would be appointed to fulfill the duties and current staff members will remain in place.

Commissioner Dan Wildermuth expressed concern that the commissioners and Ewing do their due diligence as they proceed to evaluate the move.

“I’m sure the public will have some of the same concerns as far as accountability and so forth as we looked at with our other positions,” Wildermuth said. “I think we need to do our due diligence to present to the community what and why we are doing it. It certainly makes sense, but I want to make sure that everyone is very comfortable with what we are doing here.”

Ewing will evaluate the process and documentation needed to continue and report back to the commissioners with his findings at a future meeting.

After officially accepting the letter of retirement from DeGroot, the commissioners passed along their sincere gratitude to DeGroot for her many years of service.