Prairieland director resigns from post

TRUMAN – Prairieland’s board accepted plant director Mark Bauman’s resignation on Monday, naming Billeye Rabbe the interim director.

Rabbe will continue her duties as solid waste coordinator for Faribault and Martin counties. She will collaborate with Prairieland plant supervisor Kirk Langvardt and office manager Kathy Grunig.

In a letter dated June 7, Bauman offered his resignation, effective June 21. Usually resignations are simply accepted, but some members of the Prairieland board thought they should offer Bauman more.

“He’s been a 15-year employee and has several medical issues,” noted Steve Pierce, Martin County Commissioner. “I feel he should be offered medical leave so he can recover.”

Bauman was absent from Monday’s meeting due to surgery last week.

Pierce suggested putting the resignation on hold and giving Bauman medical leave for as much as 90 days, keeping in line with other employees, and hiring an interim director in the meantime.

Tom Warmka, Faribault County Commissioner, said he was sympathetic to Bauman’s situation, but he had concerns.

“I think we’d be jeopardizing ourselves if we held him out in limbo for 30, 60, 90 days,” said Warmka, who suggested covering Bauman’s insurance for a while.

“I’d be concerned if we offered anything different from other employees,” said Bill Groskreutz, Faribault County Commissioner. “If you have a resignation and don’t accept it, where does that leave us with other employees?”

Grunig said Bauman has leave time remaining, and he will get compensation for his sick time, up to $4,000, which is allowed by the contract. Prairieland employees are included in the county’s health plan.

Pierce moved to put the resignation on hold and give Bauman 60 days of paid medical leave. He was the only one who voted for it.

A motion to accept the resignation effective June 21 failed 5-3.

A motion to accept the resignation on June 21 and pay health insurance for 90 days also failed 5-3.

A second motion to accept the resignation effective June 21 passed unanimously.

On a related topic, the board discussed with Rabbe how she would combine her duties and what compensation she would receive.

“It’s important we don’t disturb (operations) too much around here. We need to figure out this stuff. … We’ve got to make some money,” Warmka said, since both counties are supplementing the facilities.

The board asked Rabbe to report during next month’s meeting July 12 with what she has done and the time it takes, so the board can work out compensation from that information.