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Vanyo to manage Cass County government from southern California

FARGO - As of January, the man running Cass County's government will do that job from southern California.Darrell Vanyo, the interim county administrator appointed to replace Keith Berndt, said he'll serve as the county's top executive while he a...

Darrell Vanyo reflects on his years of public service while reminiscing from his home in West Fargo.David Samson / The Forum
Darrell Vanyo reflects on his years of public service while reminiscing from his home in West Fargo.David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - As of January, the man running Cass County's government will do that job from southern California.

Darrell Vanyo, the interim county administrator appointed to replace Keith Berndt, said he'll serve as the county's top executive while he and his wife spend the snowbird season near San Diego.

Vanyo will be here through December, then starting in January he'll be in California, where he typically stays until early April, he said.

Vanyo will receive an annual salary of $136,621, and while telecommuting from California in January, he’ll only be paid for the days he works, at a rate of roughly $570 per day.

On Nov. 21, the county commission voted unanimously to appoint Vanyo as the interim county administrator. And on Monday, Dec. 5, the commission again voted unanimously to have him fill the position for the next two months. At the two-month mark, the commission will check to see whether the arrangement is working out, and Vanyo's time as interim county administrator may be extended, he said.

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Vanyo, a former county commissioner, is the chairman of the board that oversees the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority, the group working to build the area's $2.2 billion flood-control project. For the past few years, he said, he's done his work for the board through conference calls while in California.

In January, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney will become chairman of the Diversion Authority board, and Vanyo will step down but still retain a seat on the board.

As interim county administrator, Vanyo is also one of two deputy directors of the Diversion Authority, along with the Fargo city administrator. Until an executive director is hired, the deputies serve as the authority's top administrative officials.

Vanyo said officials are in the nascent stages of trying to hire an executive director of the authority, which could happen as early as June or July.

The county commission voted Thursday, Dec. 1, to fire Berndt, the previous county administrator. He was allegedly involved in a disturbance that caused a United Airlines flight attendant to ask him to leave a plane in Chicago in August.

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