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Published June 23 2010

Clay County votes to offer position to Brian Berg

Clay County commissioners want Brian Berg to be the next county administrator.

Commissioners voted Tuesday morning to offer the position to Berg, who currently serves as administrator in Minnesota’s Becker County.

Berg said Tuesday afternoon he was overjoyed and flattered by the offer, but he wants to consult with his family before making a decision.

“I’m very pleased and proud and humbled to be selected,” Berg said, adding that he hopes to have a decision for Clay County officials soon.

Commissioners praised the quality of the five finalists interviewed last week for the county’s top administrative post.

However, they said Berg seemed to rise above the rest throughout the selection process, making him the clear choice.

“He came from a very good background with his management abilities, his styles and the length of time he’s been involved in management,” Commission Chairman Kevin Campbell said. “His experience was just quite significant.”

Berg has been administrator in Becker County since 2002. Prior to that, he was a marshal with the U.S. Marshals Service from 1994-2002 and superintendent of the North Dakota Highway Patrol from 1985-93.

Clay County officials would like the next administrator in place by mid-July in advance of the budget process.

Should he accept, Berg will work closely with current Administrator Vijay Sethi, who retires at the end of 2010.

Berg’s salary would be negotiated with county officials in the coming days and approved at a future commission meeting.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Clay County commissioners offered their input on a draft joint powers agreement that’s been proposed for the Red River Diversion.

Like Cass County, Clay County commissioners said they supported a board comprised of nine members with six from North Dakota and three from Minnesota – since most of the benefit and cost would be coming from North Dakota.

But Clay County commissioners also want a provision that would require a supermajority – including at least one Minnesota vote – when it came to decisions that might affect Minnesota’s share of funding for the project.

Attorneys for various local governments will take the governments’ input into account in continuing to draft the agreement, which officials hope to have finalized by September or October.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541