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Commissioners narrow list of A-T candidates

Kelly Hotovec

NEW ULM — After more than two hours of interviews Wednesday, Brown County Commissioners unanimously narrowed the list of Auditor-Treasurer finalists from four to two.

Assistant Brown County Auditor-Treasurer Kelly Hotovec and August Schell Brewing Co. Controller Liza Kukla will be interviewed by the board again beginning at 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 14.

Hotovec and Kukla reached the final interview round on a motion by Commissioner Scott Windschitl, seconded by Jeff Veerkamp.

Brown County A-T Office Financial Manager Steve Rutscher and Janesville Waldorf Pemberton PUblic Schools Business Manager Matthew Moline also interviewed Wednesday but did not reach the second interview round.

Hotovec, who has been the assistant A-T for the past six years and worked at the Brown County License Bureau for the last 18 months, said she has worked on continuous improvements in the office and improving customer services.

Liza Kulka

With a masters degree in business administration, Hotovec said she considers her data analysis and technical skills key in her ability to streamline data and do all she can for taxpayers that statutes allow.

At the license bureau, Hotovec said she created a spreadsheet to track staff cash drawers and implemented COVID-19 standards to help keep the office open, helping keep money in Brown County instead of clients using online services.

In addition, she said she administered grants, ensured election compliance, and managed budgets.

“I feel I’m a results-oriented leader and thrive under pressure,” said Hotovec. “I feel it’s important to be transparent and educate the public. We all make mistakes. It’s about learning from them and moving forward.”

Kukla worked for the City of New Ulm for four years, becoming the assistant finance director before working at August Schell Brewing Co. She said she considered running for the Brown County auditor-treasurer position when it was an elected position. She said she was pleased when it became an appointed position earlier this year.

“Government really comes easy to me and it’s something I’m passionate about,” Kukla said. “I’ve been on audit teams for large and small communities and tracked property tax payments. I believe in checking, double-checking and triple-checking.”

Kukla said she thinks the State of Minnesota has “fantastic resources to ensure rules and regulations are followed.”

“I developed an extensive budgetary process for my current employer,” said Kukla.

“As a supervisor, you may not agree with decisions…but life is not fair. That’s just the way it goes. If someone is upset, I’d try to talk them down, said added.

“I’ve been interested in this (A-T) position for eight years,” Kukla said. “I read city council and county commissioner minutes.”

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