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Hasbargen hired as new Beltrami County highway engineer

Bruce Hasbargen of Baudette, the Lake of the Woods County public works director and county highway engineer, was hired Tuesday as Beltrami County's new county highway engineer.

Hasbargen, who will start his new work on June 1, replaces Tyler Koos, who in March resigned his position for another with the state Department of Natural Resources.

A county committee interviewed four candidates and made its initial offer to Hasbargen, who accepted it, County Administrator Tony Murphy said.

"Our No,. 1 candidate was Bruce," Murphy said, adding that background checks had been completed and that references "were outstanding.."

Murphy, County Board Chairman Jack Frost, County Attorney Tim Faver, County Human Resources Director Linda Tran and three County Highway Department observers interviewed four candidates culled from a pool of applicants, Murphy said, without disclosing who the other three are.

"We are very pleased to recommend Bruce Hasbargen to a four-year appointment as county highway engineer," Murphy said. Hasbargen sat in the audience but didn't make any remarks when asked by Frost.

Hasbargen will start his post June 1 at a salary of $97,344, plus reimbursement of relocation expenses.

He started working for Lake of the Woods County in 1999 in the Public Works Department and now manages a 20-person staff plus seven seasonal workers, which includes the Highway Department, Solid Waste Department, facilities management, county parks and public ditches. He manages an annual operating budget of $5 million.

From 1997-99, Hasbargen was assistant county highway engineer for Redwood County at Redwood Falls. He is a graduate of North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D.

He has held committee chairman posts with both the Minnesota County Engineers Association and the National Association of County Engineers.

Hasbargen is a school board member in Baudette and a member of the Lake of the Woods Economic Development Joint Powers Board, church finance chairman, chairman of Healthier Communities Initiatives' Beautification Committee, youth hockey coach and Airport Commission member.

"He is the right fit for our County Highway Department," Murphy said.

"His civic involvement is a bonus," said Frost. "I hope that will continue in Beltrami County."

Hasbargen's appointment was accepted unanimously by the County Board. In the interim, the county has contracted with the Cass County highway engineer to certify projects to the state.