County Commission hires Melland as new county auditor/COO

She is interim no more. The Stutsman County Commission unanimously approved Tuesday hiring Nicole Meland as the county auditor/chief operating officer.

She is interim no more. The Stutsman County Commission unanimously approved Tuesday hiring Nicole Meland as the county auditor/chief operating officer.

Meland was appointed interim county auditor/COO in August when Casey Bradley, who used to hold the position, resigned for personal reasons.

Meland said after the County Commission meeting Tuesday that she would accept the job offer. County Commission Chairman Mark Klose said Shannon Larson, the county's human resource specialist, will write an offer letter to Meland spelling out the terms of the offer as required by the county's policies and procedure manual.

Meland said she is currently making a little more than $93,000 as the interim and will make $97,710 as the new county auditor/COO. She will have a six-month probation period.

Meland was one of six applicants for the job. A committee consisting of Klose, Commissioner Dave Schwartz, Stutsman County Emergency Manager Jerry Bergquist and Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser reviewed the applicants and scored each applicant on a 10-point system. Meland received the highest score with 8.6, and Dustin Bakken came in second with 6.8. None of the other applicants scored higher that 4.1.


Schwartz said Bakken was formerly the director of tax equalization for Stutsman County. He moved around five years ago when his wife got a job in Bismarck. Schwartz said Bakken is employed with the tax department for the state of North Dakota.

Klose said he felt the County Commission should interview Meland and Bakken.

Commissioner Dennis Ova made the motion to hire Meland, which was seconded by Commissioner Craig Neys. Ova said he didn't see a need to change anything as he liked Meland's performance as the interim county auditor/COO.

"I think we got a pretty good running deal here," he said.

Meland said she has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. She previously worked for 4 1/2 years for the state of Minnesota in its revenue department in income tax auditing. After that she worked for a year and a half as a bank auditor for the state of North Dakota. Prior to coming to work for Stutsman County she was an internal auditor for RDO Equipment Co., which owns 60 to 70 John Deere stores in the Great Plains region.

Prior to being appointed interim county auditor/COO, Meland was the county's deputy auditor/recorder under Bradley. She said she applied for the county auditor/COO position after being asked to do so by several people. She had also worked for Stutsman County Social Services before moving into the Stutsman County Recorder's Office.

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