Questions for Candidates: What is the biggest challenge facing the County Attorney’s Office?

September 25, 2018
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Mark Ostrem

Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem is facing a challenge by the lead attorney for the criminal division, Geoff Hjerleid.

The candidates will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

We asked them to identify the biggest challenge facing the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office and how they plan to address it.

Here are their replies:

Mark Ostrem

The Olmsted County Attorney’s mission of enforcing the law is challenged by significant growth and complexity of cases. Because of these challenges, attorneys and staff often work in a triage environment, unable to appropriately develop cases. The anticipated growth in our court system will further challenge us in these areas. The expected development of our community also taxes my staff to advise county government. We need resources to approach our work properly.

I am asking the County Board to add staff to ensure a realistic workload environment for our office, and I will continue to prioritize staff well-being by continuing to address the secondary trauma experienced by our work.

Geoff Hjerleid

Restoring confidence in the leadership of the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office is the biggest challenge. For too long, ineffective leadership and management has deteriorated the morale in one of the county’s most vital institutions charged with ensuring public safety.

Olmsted County voters deserve a county attorney who will deliver measurable results. We will restore public confidence by focusing on the currently neglected core functions of our office, we will use the law to solve problems, and we will renew strong partnerships with law enforcement, partner agencies and court system.

That change is needed cannot be overestimated — by endorsing me for Olmsted County attorney, the assistant county attorneys have placed their trust in my leadership. I hope that voters do the same in November.

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