BEMIDJI -- Beltrami County’s next administrator will be one of five finalists who each bring experience in local government from the Midwest region.

Current Administrator Kay Mack announced her retirement in May and is working reduced hours as she gets closer to exiting the position. As part of finding Mack’s successor, the county is working with the firm David Drown Associates Co.

The five candidates include:

  • Chief Executive Officer and Minot, N.D. City Manager Thomas Barry. Before his current position, Barry has worked as the director of public works and utilities for Meridian, Idaho. Barry holds a bachelor of science, and masters degrees in science, business administration and public administration.
  • Mahnomen City Administrator Mitchell Berg. Along with his government work, Berg is a faculty mentor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, as well as adjunct instructor at White Earth Tribal College and BSU. Berg has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban and regional studies, as well as a PhD. in management and public service.
  • Mille Lacs County Administrator Pat Oman. Previously, Oman was Moose Lake’s city administrator and housing and redevelopment authority executive director. Oman has a bachelor's degree in fine arts, as well as master’s degrees in manufacturing systems and business administration.
  • Blackduck City Administrator Christina Regas. Regas, who holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, was previously a store manager at OfficeMax.
  • Beltrami County Director of Health and Human Services Rebecca Secore. Before her current position, Secore was executive director and clinical supervisor for the Beltrami Area Service Collaborative. Secore holds a bachelor’s degrees in human services and business administration, as well as a master’s degree in counseling and human resource development.

The next stage of the hiring process will take place Oct. 14, with interviews scheduled.

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“In the morning, the candidates will be in Bemidji and meet with county department heads for about a half hour each,” Mack said. “The department heads will then be able to give some feedback to the county board before the interviews in the afternoon.”

According to Mack, the board has the ability to make a decision that day, but isn’t required to. Another option for the board is to narrow the candidates to two or three, and turn to the consulting firm on what to do next. When the final decision is made, Mack said it will likely be done by a vote.

“I would imagine it will be a vote, but if there’s a clear consensus, it may not come to that,” Mack said. “Typically, though, they’ll want to have a vote so it’s a formal action of the board.”

Mack, a BSU graduate, has worked at the county since 1977. In 1986, she became county treasurer and stayed in the role when it was merged with the auditor position. Mack then became administrator in 2012.