A going-away party turned into a cake break Wednesday as Bonnie Finnerty, Crow Wing County planner, decided to stay.
The decision followed a Wednesday morning meeting between Finnerty, county commissioners and staff. Earlier this month, the 30-year-old Finnerty announced her resignation effective Nov. 12. Her new employment and training to be a technician at Crosby Eye Care was expected to start days later.
Peter Herlofsky Jr., county administrator, tried to change her mind to no avail. Commissioners tried again at Tuesday's county board meeting. And they offered to restructure the planning department to keep her. Reached at her home Wednesday night, Finnerty said the county board offer was a surprise.
"I was pretty surprised they were still thinking about what we can do," Finnerty said. "I had some thoughts and wanted to explore every possibility. That's what we were able to do this morning and find something that would work for everybody."
Finnerty said stress and job burnout fueled her resignation. At home, she has two young children ages 4 and 6. Her oldest started kindergarten this year.
"I wasn't doing a good job of balancing everything and it just got overwhelming," she said.
After news of her resignation was reported, Finnerty said she was surprised at calls she was getting.
"I always thought it was a thankless job, but I couldn't believe how supportive the community was," she said. "It's nice to see our community really cares about people and the direction we are headed."
But she was still attached to ongoing projects at the county and said she wanted to finish what she started.
Burned out on the job, Finnerty said she was willing to take a new look at it when the county offered to make stress-relieving changes by reallocating duties.
Finnerty will work 32 hours a week. She said the annual pay will be less with the hour reduction but she is happy with the decision. With a personality that makes her want to tackle tasks herself, Finnerty said being able to step back and share the responsibilities will help. Kristin Hansen, assistant planner, will assist with night meetings. Sue Maske, senior technician clerk, makes up the third person in the planning section.
Herlofsky said the staff is small enough that sharing planning commission meeting duties among others should work in terms of communication. The county's water planning efforts will go to the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District for one year.
Tracy Giza, planning and zoning office manager, said the news that Finnerty was staying was well-received Wednesday. Giza said Finnerty's strengths come in organization, attention to detail and an ability to follow-through on plans. "She's an excellent person for this position."
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.