Two months after Dakota County officials decided to fire the director of one of the state’s largest community development agencies, citing workplace complaints, they have voted to extend his contract.
The County Board unanimously voted March 3 to notify Mark Ulfers, the longtime director of the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA), that his job would be terminated for cause. Ulfers’ contract required 60 days notice.
On Friday, days before the termination would be final, the board reconvened in a special meeting and passed a resolution extending his employment until May 12. The board will meet again then to discuss the situation. The extension will have no effect on its plan to terminate him, the resolution states.
The County Board, which is also the board of the CDA, was split 5-2 on last week’s decision, with Commissioners Mary Liz Holberg and Liz Workman voting not to extend Ulfers’ employment.
“I’ve never been in a position quite like this,” Workman said Monday, but she declined to comment on what happened or why an extension was made.
The CDA will not release information on why Ulfers will be fired, saying only that the decision followed workplace complaints. As of Monday, no criminal charges have been filed against Ulfers and he is not named in any lawsuits.
Ulfers is not coming into the office or working for the CDA but remains on the payroll, CDA spokeswoman Sara Swenson said in an e-mail.
Ulfers did not return a call for comment Monday.
County commissioners have been tight-lipped since their initial decision.
In March, Commissioner Tom Egan would only say, “I’ve known Mark and worked with Mark since the early 1980s, and we’ve accomplished a great number of things together in terms of affordable housing and workforce housing projects.”
Ulfers, 58, started working at the CDA in 1977 and became executive director in 1986. His salary was $161,250, according to his most recent employment agreement.
As CDA director, he oversaw an agency with a $54 million operating budget that runs around 30 programs, including housing choice vouchers and senior apartment complexes.
Ulfers’ name is well-known in the affordable housing arena. He is listed as a board member for the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, the Housing Agency Retirement Trust and the Minnesota Housing Partnership.
Kari Gill has stepped in as acting executive director since the board’s decision to terminate Ulfers. She helped run the most recent CDA meeting.