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Former sheriff a finalist for interim job in Steele County

Don Gudmundson, the longtime Dakota County Sheriff who retired from the county in February, is in the running to become the interim sheriff in Steele County.

Gudmundson announced last summer he would not seek re-election in the fall of 2010. Then, in February, he announced he would leave his post in Dakota County 10 months early due to personal reasons. His term was set to expire at the end of 2010.

The interim seat in Steele County would last through 2010.

Owatonna is the county seat of Steele County.

Gudmundson told the Owatonna People's Press he left the Dakota County job early to help his family after the death of his father. He said he needed to take time off to help "put crops in the ground," and rather than leave his department without a leader in March and April he stepped down.

Gudmundson told the People's Press he decided to apply for the Steele County job after hearing encouragement from the Owatonna Police Department, Steele County Sheriff's Office and Steele County residents.

"I can hit the ground running. I don't really wonder where the paper clips are. I know what is important: To get to know the people in the agency, the county government and, most importantly, the citizens," Gudmundson told the Owatonna paper.

Gudmundson's decision to leave his Dakota County job early and the county board's decision to appoint chief deputy David Bellows, a candidate for the sheriff's job, to fill the remainder of the term upset Apple Valley police sergeant Mitch Scott, who filed to run for sheriff even before Gudmundson announced he would not run again. Scott accused the board of clearing the way for Bellows, who can now run as an incumbent, to win the job in November.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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