Most of the five Crow Wing County commissioners were not too surprised when they found out that Dean Williams, county planning and zoning administrator, resigned.
Williams resigned from his post Thursday. His last day will be May 24.
The commissioners received William's official resignation letter along with an acceptance letter from County Administrator Peter Herlofsky Jr. in the mail with the county meeting agenda and correspondence Saturday.
Herlofsky said this morning that he and the commissioners had conversations last Tuesday regarding Williams' position.
County chairman John Ferrari had heard rumors earlier about Williams' resigning so it was not a surprise to him when the letter came. Ferrari said he stopped by Herlofsky's office Friday and heard the news.
"Being in this business, it happens all the time," said Ferrari about the resignation.
In Ferrari's 22 years with the county, he said the position has had a high turnover rate with about four to five people coming and going -- and most staying on the job for a couple years.
"It's a stressful position," he said.
Ferrari said he thought Williams was doing a decent job as the planning and zoning administrator. Ferrari has heard mixed feelings from other people in the county. "Some were happy and some were disappointed," he said.
Commissioner Ed Larsen also was not surprised by the news. "It's something that happens and we will have to move on," he said. "I've been in the public business for a long time ... There are very few surprises left. You accept the things as they happen."
Larsen said the planning and zoning office is extremely important and has many difficult tasks. Larsen, who also serves on the Planning Commission, said Williams and he have never had conversations on the resignation before it was made official. He would not discuss Williams' performance.
Commissioner Dewey Tautges heard that Williams resigned when he paid a visit to the planning and zoning office Friday to receive information for a constituent. Williams was out of the office at the time and a staff person told him the news.
"People come and go and that's the way it is," he said.
Commissioner Gil Dewes also was not shocked about the news.
"We go over this occasionally," he said.
Reached at home Tuesday night, Commissioner Terry Sluss said elected officials get complaints about the planning department but he said he would not characterize Williams as a controversial figure. Sluss said it is the position of planning and zoning administrator that is more controversial.
"It's always a hard job," Sluss said, adding planners have to try to determine the future and are often caught between competing forces in zoning decisions. "I would say planning and zoning is one of the toughest jobs there is."
As for Williams, Sluss said public office holders receive complaint calls. But Sluss said he was surprised the resignation decision appeared to come suddenly and just when the office is getting into its busy season.
Sluss said the board had not discussed the resignation. He said counties with growth experience stress and the fact an updated county comprehensive plan is not yet in place may have added to it.
In relation to public disclosure of Williams' resignation, Sluss said while he understands there are personal matters that do not serve the public interest in disclosure when an employee wants to move on, he believes the majority of information should be open.
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