BEMIDJI – Come 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, time’s up.
And come Thursday, if no one from the current pool of applicants is chosen as a possible replacement for John Winter, the Beltrami County recreational resource manager, the position will remain open.
“That job was posted from Dec. 20 to Jan. 23,” said Diane Moe, an administrative specialist with the county’s department of human resources. “And it was re-opened from Feb. 8 to Feb. 27.”
Currently there are six applications sitting on Moe’s desk, and a few more than 10 people applied in the previous round. But no matter what, Winter’s last day is Thursday.
“We sent out notices to all state parks. We’ve really saturated where we thought we could pick someone up,” Winter said. “It’s a fine paying job for a normal situation, but as far as recreation goes, they can pay a lot higher to be frank.”
The job pays between $44,000 and $55,000 annually.
But it’s not just the pay that has resulted in the small number of applicants, Winter said. The job is an expansive one.
“The person’s going to have to learn a lot,” he said. “It’s a one-man shop here, and in many cases, you’re doing planning, you’re doing designing, and my favorite, you’re putting toilet paper in the johns and maps in the map box.”
The workload also includes dealing with dozens of groups and organizations, all with different interests, and different ideas of how county parks should be managed, used and operated.
And the ideas on such subjects are only increasing as more people use the parks for recreation. Ronglein Park, for instance, saw 80,000 visitors last year, Winter said.
“A lot can be picked up and learned, but some of it is the ability to deal with different clubs and organizations,” he said. “I think that is one of the primary areas. We do have a lot of groups, and there’s difference of opinion.”
In addition to management of county parks, Winter, since taking the job almost seven years ago, is responsible for seeking federal and state grants to assist with funding.
In his time, that amount has neared the quarter million mark, with an estimated $700,000 in grants secured, Winter said.
Whether or not county administrators are closer Wednesday night to choosing his successor, Winter’s plans are set in stone.
“I’m going to do a lot more fishing,” he said.”