Roy Luukkonen has worked in the Crow Wing County auditor's office since 1968, and is now preparing to adjust to changes in the new millennium.
Luukkonen first was elected county auditor in 1990, and part of his role is to assist the Crow Wing County Board. The board recently decided to hire a county administrator, who would oversee some of Luukkonen's duties.
"At first I didn't anticipate it happening (hiring an administrator)," Luukkonen said. "I haven't accepted it yet. I am the type of person who needs to see the benefit of the change shown to me."
Luukkonen does not see the new position as one that will relieve him of any duties. He will continue to serve as clerk for the county board.
Tasks the administrator will perform include overseeing the auditor's duties, such as making sure the county audits are complete and the accounting for the centralized system is in place.
The administrator will manage the activities and operations of all the departments, oversee the budget process and human resource management, do research, develop and organize county programs and do special projects. He or she will also help prepare the county board agenda, assist the board in long-range planning and perform additional tasks as assigned by the board.
Luukkonen's duties are to administer taxes, oversee major funds and complete annual financial statements and all transactions. He also maintains voter registration and conducts special and area elections.
He accesses information on land ownership and determines the future use of zoning of property. And he serves as clerk for the county commissioners.
Luukkonen is in agreement with having the administrator, as long as none of the administrator's duties overlap his role.
He said the commissioners agreed to hire an administrator because several counties have such a position and they thought it would benefit the county. The departments all pulled together to cut the county's 2000 budget to make funding available for the position -- $70,000. Not all the money will be used for the administrator's salary.
"I don't think it's necessary (to hire a county administrator)," said Luukkonen. "But I do accept change.
"I serve my constituents and my goal is to be responsive to the consensus and I will continue to do that."
Board members and Luukkonen sat down to go over the administrator's job description in March and Luukkonen was able to provide his input. The screening process for candidates is ongoing and the next step is to choose the top three. They will meet with the board and then salary negotiations will begin.
There were 23 candidates who applied; 14 have a master's degree and seven have a bachelor's degree.
Luukkonen is a native of Wadena County and grew up on a dairy farm. He has lived in Crow Wing County most of his life and calls it home.
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