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Grundy County hires new IT consultant

MORRIS – Eric Peterson, of Peterson Computer Consulting, officially is Grundy County’s new technology consultant.

The Grundy County Board approved Tuesday a six-month agreement with Peterson. According to the contract, Peterson will work 96 hours monthly and be compensated $5,500 a month.

“I’m excited to get started helping out,” Peterson said Wednesday. He starts his new position next week, according to his contract.

The Grundy County Technology Department – staffed by Kirsten Torkelson and Dan Peterson – has taken on extra duties since January, when former technology supervisor J.P. Watters retired after 10 years of employment with the county.

After posting the job, the county was set to hire a replacement for Watters in April and lighten the workload for current technology employees.

However, the applicant withdrew his application one day before being approved by the County Board. It is unclear why the application was withdrawn.

After some debate at meetings, the technology department unanimously recommended Peterson for the consultant position.

As a consultant, Peterson will absorb some of the managerial duties for the department but will not replace the supervisor.

At previous meetings, objections were raised about hiring a consultant as opposed to a full-time supervisor, but technology committee chairman David Welter argued that hiring Peterson is a good solution for the department and will save the county money.

Watters’ annual salary was $75,000.

“I feel great about having Eric on board. I think it will be a great partnership between him and the county,” Welter said Wednesday. “He’s already set forth a 30-, 60- and 90-day timeline as to some things he wants to help the county accomplish.”

According to Peterson’s contract, he will coordinate staff activities, manage the department’s budget, provide monthly reports and work on other various tasks throughout the department.

Welter said the county will be working on several projects in the upcoming year.

While working with the county, he will retain his job as the proprietor of Peterson Computer Consulting based in Morris.

Torkelson and Dan Peterson will still report to County Administrator Heidi Miller so there will be no changes in the management structure.

Eric Peterson’s presence provides some wiggle room when current staff want to use vacation or sick time and need him to fill the position in their absence.

“[Dan and Kirsten] are both great people and I look forward to working with them,” Peterson said.

Eric Peterson’s contract will expire Dec. 16, at which time the board could renegotiate another agreement.

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