County government division shuffled with manager Jon Olson’s pending retirement

The Anoka County Board has reorganized one of county governments divisions with the impending retirement of the division’s manager.

Jon Olson, who has been with the county since 1984 first as highway engineer and for the last 10 years as the division manager of public services, is retiring in December.

At its meeting Aug. 13, the board approved a resolution eliminating the public services division and creating two new divisions with two existing county employees becoming managers.

County Highway Engineer Doug Fischer will become division manager for transportation and Parks and Recreation Director John VonDeLinde has been named division manager of parks and community services.

They will retain their current positions, Fischer as county highway engineer and VonDeLinde as parks and recreation director, while assuming more responsibilities, according to County Administrator Jerry Soma.

Both Fischer and VonDeLinde have reported to Olson as division manager for public services.

The other county departments and units that have been under Olson’s public services division umbrella will be divided up into the two new divisions, Soma said.

Those functions include airports, highway, pipelines and ditches, surveyor, GIS, transit, integrated waste management, diseased and non-diseased trees, household hazardous waste, landfill and abatement, license bureau, solid and hazardous waste, waste to energy, composting and landspread, and parks.

According to the county board resolution, the new transportation division, headed by Fischer, will be assigned airports, highway, pipelines and ditches, surveyor, GIS and transit functions.

The parks and community services divisions, headed by VonDeLinde, will handle integrated waste management, diseased and non-diseased trees, household hazardous waste, landfill and abatement, license bureau, solid and hazardous waste, waste to energy, yard waste, composting and landspread, as well as parks functions.

The reorganization of the public services division on his retirement was the idea of Olson, Soma said.

The new divisions will go into effect Sept. 1 which is before Olson’s retirement date to allow the transition to take place smoothly, according to Soma.

With the increase in their duties, Fischer and VonDeLinde will receive a bump in their pay, but overall the county will save money by eliminating the public services division, Soma said.

“We are in the process of flattening the organization,” he said.

When Steve Novak retired a year ago as governmental services division manager, the position was eliminated and the division’s functions were spread among other divisions of county government, Soma said.

The resolution approved by the board Aug. 13 states that the changes “will improve efficiency, simplify reporting and streamline operations.”

The county’s three other divisions are property records and taxation, human services and finance and central services.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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