Mower County administrator Harren resigns

(ABC 6 News) – Mower County will soon be searching for a new county administrator.

Trish Harren, who has held the position since December 2018, announced that she is stepping down effective Aug. 4.

The announcement was made at the Mower County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday. The commissioners voted unanimously to accept Harren’s resignation.

Harren will take on a similar position in Kittson County, which is in the far northwest corner of Minnesota and seats approximately 4,200 people.

Officials will begin conducting interviews for a new county administrator in July.

In February, Harren was threatened with a lawsuit by Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik.

RELATED: Mower County Sheriff threatens lawsuit against county administrator

In November 2022, complaints surfaced of Sheriff Sandvik’s on-the-job conduct of being drunk on the job and harassing employees. The results of an investigation by a St. Paul law firm found “the allegation was not sustained,” but there was evidence that Sheriff Sandvik had been drinking.

Austin Police Department Captain Todd Clennon made that determination based off Sheriff Sandvik’s manner of speech, demeanor, blood shot eyes and the smell of alcohol. Capt. Clennon also says he stands by everything written in that report.

Following the November incident, Harren released a statement saying Sheriff Sandvik was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and would be taking a medical leave. The Sheriff returned to work full-time in January.

RELATED: UPDATE: Mower county sheriff diagnosed with PTSD, cleared to return to work

Sheriff Sandvik’s attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Harren, telling her to no longer release any data concerning him, his medical treatment or condition. Sheriff Sandvik threatened to seek $15,000 for each instance in which his “privacy rights have been violated.”

At the time, ABC 6 News reached out to Sheriff Sandvik as well as Harren but neither returned our call for comment.